Walnuts are an amazing and nutritious whole food that can be used many different ways and this tart is a great example of their amazing flexibility as an ingredient. In my household, we eat a lot of candied nuts so this dessert was not much of a stretch but in the region of the US where we live, pecan and walnut pies are not as common as they are in other places, so for us, this was a new and exciting treat.
When I first looked at the recipe I had no idea how it would work out. There are no photos in the book so I decided that it would be ok and I trusted my own previous baking experience. Since the recipe blends a touch of European baking technique with an American classic I was able to make it come together. It isn’t that difficult at all, and I can assure you, this dessert was a hit with my husband and our dinner guest.
It’s a rich dessert, with a flaky crust, and is an interesting alternative to the traditional pecan or walnut pie where the nuts are left whole. (If you’d like to try that version though there’s also a recipe for it in the book.)
The flaky pie crust is versatile and in Nourishing Traditions it’s used for several different dishes. Up until now, making pie crust scared me but now I know that it’s not only possible to make, but that I can make it well. If you’ve never tried it before, get used to being complimented for your crust. It’s a great feeling.
Tips for making the Tart
- I replaced the Rapadura with organic sucanat. This recipe calls for a robust flavorful sugar and I wouldn’t substitute any other sweetener. The sugar really helps to make the tart.
- Since I was unable to find coffee extract at any store or health food market I replaced it with a teaspoon of freshly ground decaffeinated coffee.
- Try not to make the brandy optional. It is worth the effort of including it.
- Remember not to pre-bake the tart shell. Even if partially baked, it is likely to burn in the oven.
- Be sure to pierce the shell with a fork several times and to place the tart in a cold oven and then turn the heat on. This helps the crust to bake without shrinkage.
- Definitely take the extra time to make crispy walnuts. They’re absolutely divine and the process brings out the most delicate flavors of the nut while lessening the bitterness. I have no idea how this would taste if you just used plain walnuts, but I know I would not recommend it.
Page in NT: 563
- 1 recipe flaky pie crust (page 557)
- 1 1/3 cup crispy walnuts (page 513)
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 3/4 cup Rapadura (or sucanat)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon coffee extract, or fine ground coffee (decaf is fine)
- 2 Tablespoons brandy (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Line a 10-inch French-style tart pan with flaky pie crust dough.
- Process the crispy walnuts in a food processor to a fine powder.
- Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
- Pour into a tart shell and bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes.