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French Walnut Tart

10 Servings

2¼ hours 20 minutes active, plus cooling

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This simple tart comes from the Perigord region of France, an area known for its walnuts. A cookie-like pastry shell is filled with the rich, subtly bitter nuts and buttery caramel. Our version tones down what is often cloying sweetness with a small measure of crème fraîche and a dose of cider vinegar (you won’t detect it in the finished dessert). Whole-wheat flour in the crust plays up the earthiness of the walnuts. To toast the nuts, spread them in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 325°F until fragrant and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring just once or twice; do not overtoast them or they will taste bitter. The dough-lined tart pan can be prepared in advance; after the dough has firmed up, wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for up to two weeks. The tart is superb lightly sprinkled with flaky sea salt and accompanied by crème fraîche or unsweetened whipped cream.




Don’t overcook the caramel. Aim for an amber hue; if it gets much darker than that, the finished tart will taste bitter.

2¼ hours

20 minutes active, plus cooling

For the tart shell:

  • 87

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour


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March 7, 2024
breathtaking and delicious
I made five individual tartlets using the same recipe. It was incredibly time consuming but came out beautifully. It's true that the addition of creme fraiche and cider vinegar adds a different and beautiful flavor. It is not cloying at all. I think this is a good base recipe to use other nuts. I cannot wait to make it again.
Robert P.
February 29, 2024
Crème fraiche
Fear not! If your grocer has no crème fraiche then make your own. Kenji has recently published regarding this. Bottom line, you will have all the crème fraiche you desire of higher quality than the store.
Frances P.
December 27, 2023
Favorite Tart
Several years ago I made this tart for the first time for a Friendsgiving, and it was everyone's favorite. Now I bake it for every get-together we have, and one friend in particular always requests it whenever we see him. It's so delicious, and it always turns out perfectly. So much better than the traditional nut pies that are too sickly-sweet.
Robert J.
December 26, 2023
French Walnut Tart
I made this recipe for a Christmas dinner I was invited too; everyone love it. The tang/tartness comes through from the creme fraiche and apple cider vinegar; making this instead of pecan pie going forward.
Sarah R.
November 28, 2023
Better than pecan pie
This was truly wonderful. I think I undercooked the caramel, so it was runnier than it should have been and I was unable to serve it in neat slices. It did not taste like apple cider vinegar after I baked it—beforehand it was overpowering, but afterwards I couldn’t tell it was there. In the future I will be sure to chop the walnuts a little more finely.
Michele R.

Given the eggs yolks in the caramel, can anyone share if leftovers will need to be refrigerated? Realizing this is different than a pecan pie, I do typically refrigerate leftovers of that type of pie. Thanks!

Janelle C.

Hi Michele,

Our Recipe Developer, Julia Rackow says there is no need to refrigerate in this case. The change in temperature would alter the sugar crystallization in this dish so feel free to leave it out but covered.

The Milk Street Team

Allyson S.

Unfortunately, I do not have crème fraiche available to me right now. Would I be able to use another type of cream, or a combination thereof? I have access to Half n Half, Heavy Whipping Cream, Ricotta Cheese, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese.

Janelle C.

Hi Allyson,

This is a great question. Would you post it in our Q&A Forum for Milk Street Insiders and Digital subscribers? Insider members usually receive responses from a Milk Street Experts within 2 business days and I'm sure others would love to hear the answer to this one.

The Milk Street Team

Carl M.

Best experience thus far while cruising Milk Street. The walnuts proved to be the perfect combination with the sweet of the caramel and the sprinkled salt.

yvonne d.

This was incredible! Due to a walnut allergy in the house I used pecans instead to accommodate, but followed everything else to a tee. Highly recommend!

Nicola B.

Can't wait for try this out. Any thoughts on using a combination of walnuts and pistachios with some spices typically used in baklava?

Lynn C.

Hi Nicola -

We think this would work fine and sounds delicious (though not French :-) ). Good luck!

The Milk Street Team

Jo Ann K.

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