Walnut-Caramel Tart
James Carrier
Yields Makes 12 to 16 servings
A fail-safe press-in crust makes this tart easy to pull off. Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour, plus at least 4 hours to cool.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup butter and the brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt and beat until mixture forms a ball.

Step 2
2

Press dough over bottom and up sides to rim of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable rim. Freeze until firm, 15 minutes.

Step 3
3

Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a large baking pan. Bake until lightly golden under skins, about 8 minutes (leave oven on). When walnuts are cool enough to handle, chop 2 cups; reserve remainder.

Step 4
4

Bake tart shell until golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

Step 5
5

Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium heat, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then increase heat to high and boil, swirling mixture occasionally, until mixture is a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraîche, remaining 1/4 cup butter, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (mixture will foam). Stir until smooth.

Step 6
6

Spread chopped walnuts in tart shell, then pour in hot caramel; spread level. Garnish edge of tart with reserved walnut halves. Let tart cool until caramel is firm enough to slice, at least 4 hours, or chill up to 2 days (bring to room temperature before serving). Cut into thin wedges.

Ingredients

 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
 1 large egg yolk
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 3/4 teaspoon salt
 2 3/4 cups walnut halves
 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
 1/2 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream

Directions

Step 1
1

Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1/2 cup butter and the brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt and beat until mixture forms a ball.

Step 2
2

Press dough over bottom and up sides to rim of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable rim. Freeze until firm, 15 minutes.

Step 3
3

Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a large baking pan. Bake until lightly golden under skins, about 8 minutes (leave oven on). When walnuts are cool enough to handle, chop 2 cups; reserve remainder.

Step 4
4

Bake tart shell until golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

Step 5
5

Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium heat, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then increase heat to high and boil, swirling mixture occasionally, until mixture is a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraîche, remaining 1/4 cup butter, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (mixture will foam). Stir until smooth.

Step 6
6

Spread chopped walnuts in tart shell, then pour in hot caramel; spread level. Garnish edge of tart with reserved walnut halves. Let tart cool until caramel is firm enough to slice, at least 4 hours, or chill up to 2 days (bring to room temperature before serving). Cut into thin wedges.

Walnut-Caramel Tart