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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie French Walnut Tart

French Walnut Tart

2¼ hours 20 minutes active, plus cooling

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French Walnut Tart

Free

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.

10

Servings

Tip

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

87 grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour
46 grams (⅓ cup) whole-wheat flour
40 grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
107 grams (½ cup) white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup crème fraîche
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 large egg yolks
230 grams (2½ cups) walnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted
For the tart shell:
  • 87

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour

  • 46

    grams (⅓ cup) whole-wheat flour

  • 40

    grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar

  • ¼

    teaspoon table salt

  • 6

    tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1
For the filling:
  • 107

    grams (½ cup) white sugar

  • ¼

    cup honey

  • cup crème fraîche

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

  • 1

    tablespoon cider vinegar

  • teaspoon table salt

  • 2

    large egg yolks

  • 230

    grams (2½ cups) walnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Mist a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
  2. 02
    To make the tart shell, in a food processor, process until combined both flours, the sugar and salt, about 5 seconds. Scatter the butter over the mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse sand, 10 to 12 pulses. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, then process until the mixture is evenly moistened and cohesive, 20 to 30 seconds; the mixture may not form a single mass.
    See Demo
    10 09 18 Cpk 054
  3. 03
    Crumble the dough into the prepared tart pan, evenly covering the surface. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides; the edge of the dough should be flush with the rim. Use a fork to prick all over the bottom, then freeze until the dough is firm, 15 to 30 minutes.
    See Demo
    10 09 18 Cpk 057
  4. 04
    While the dough chills, to make the filling, pour ¼ cup water into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and honey into the center, avoiding contact with the sides. Cook over medium, swirling the pan frequently, until the mixture is amber in color, about 8 minutes. Off heat, add the crème fraîche, butter, vinegar and salt, then whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined. Let cool until just warm, about 30 minutes.
    See Demo
    10 09 18 Cpk 045
  5. 05
    While the caramel cools, set the dough-lined tart pan on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.
    See Demo
    10 09 18 Cpk 033
  6. 06
    Whisk the yolks into the warm honey filling, then add the nuts and stir until evenly coated. Pour the filling into warm tart shell, then gently spread in an even layer. Bake until the edges of the filling begin to puff and the center jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, 25 to 35 minutes.
    See Demo
    10 09 18 Cpk 068
  7. 07
    Let the tart cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Remove the pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    See Demo
    08 14 18 Cpk 666
Tip: Don’t overcook the caramel. Aim for an amber hue; if it gets much darker than that, the finished tart will taste bitter.
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Reviews
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.

Best,
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.

https://www.177milkstreet.com/discussion/

Best,
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!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Jo Ann K.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.


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French Walnut Tart

Get Ready to Cook

10

Servings

2¼ hours

20 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

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

For the tart shell:
  • 87

    grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour

  • 46

    grams (⅓ cup) whole-wheat flour

  • 40

    grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar

  • ¼

    teaspoon table salt

  • 6

    tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1
For the filling:
  • 107

    grams (½ cup) white sugar

  • ¼

    cup honey

  • cup crème fraîche

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter

  • 1

    tablespoon cider vinegar

  • teaspoon table salt

  • 2

    large egg yolks

  • 230

    grams (2½ cups) walnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted

Step 1 of 7

Preheat the oven

Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Mist a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

Step 2 of 7

Make the tart shell

87
grams (⅔ cup) all-purpose flour 
46
grams (⅓ cup) whole-wheat flour
40
grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar
¼
teaspoon table salt
6
tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1
large egg yolk
1
teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the tart shell, in a food processor, process until combined both flours, the sugar and salt, about 5 seconds.


Scatter the butter over the mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse sand, 10 to 12 pulses.


Add the egg yolk and vanilla, then process until the mixture is evenly moistened and cohesive, 20 to 30 seconds; the mixture may not form a single mass.

Step 3 of 7

Press the dough into the tart pan

Crumble the dough into the prepared tart pan, evenly covering the surface. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides; the edge of the dough should be flush with the rim. Use a fork to prick all over the bottom, then freeze until the dough is firm, 15 to 30 minutes.

Step 4 of 7

Make the filling

107
grams (½ cup) white sugar
¼
cup honey
cup crème fraîche
4
tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter 
1
tablespoon cider vinegar
teaspoon table salt

While the dough chills, to make the filling, pour ¼ cup water into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and honey into the center, avoiding contact with the sides. Cook over medium, swirling the pan frequently, until the mixture is amber in color, about 8 minutes.


Off heat, add the crème fraîche, butter, vinegar and salt, then whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined. Let cool until just warm, about 30 minutes.

Step 5 of 7

Bake the tart shell

While the caramel cools, set the dough-lined tart pan on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.

Step 6 of 7

Bake the filling

2
large egg yolks
230
grams (2½ cups) walnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted

Whisk the yolks into the warm honey filling, then add the nuts and stir until evenly coated. Pour the filling into warm tart shell, then gently spread in an even layer. Bake until the edges of the filling begin to puff and the center jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, 25 to 35 minutes.

Step 7 of 7

Let cool

Let the tart cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Remove the pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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