Black Walnut Tart

A while back one of our friends was RAVING about some cookies she had with black walnut extract in them.  Of course I HAD to find this amazing extract and bring it into our store.  Well, she was spot on about how amazing the flavor is!  Here is a recipe that uses the extract and regular walnuts in the tart.  If you have ever tried to clean black walnuts you understand why this is a better way to go.  If you do have the patience and don’t mind your hands stained for months, still use the extract because it will add a depth of flavor beyond what you can imagine.  Happy cooking!

Black Walnut Tart
Serves 8-10

2 cups shelled Walnuts – toasted for 5 minutes at 375F (this can be done ahead of time)
2/3 heavy cream
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 oz. butter (1/2 a stick)
1 teaspoon Black Walnut Extract
1 teaspoon Murray River Sea Salt (or other flake salt such as Maldon)

Tart Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
5 oz. Unsalted butter
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons ice water

To bake: 9″   tart pan with removeable bottom

Make the dough:
Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Blend in the butter with a pastry blender or you can use a food processor and pulse a few times until the butter looks like small peas in the flour. Mix the ice water and the egg together and then blend into the flour mixture. Don’t handle the dough too much or it will become tough and shrink on the sides. The dough should hold together, if it doesn’t add ice water one tablespoon at a time until it holds together but isn’t wet. Spread out plastic wrap on a smooth surface and place the dough onto the plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out until it is 1/4″ thick and round. Refrigerate for an hour. After the dough has rested, place dough into the tart pan being sure the edges are pressed into the sides of the pan. Place this into the freezer while you make the filling. Preheat your oven to 425F.

Make the filling:
Heat cream in microwave or on stove top until hot but not boiling. Reserve. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a heavy bottomed pan. Be sure the pan is clean before starting any sugar work. I like to clean my pan with gray sea salt and white vinegar. To clean using the salt method, take approximately 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and place into the pan. Using a paper towel scrub all around the pan being sure to get into the edges. Rinse the pan thoroughly and dry completely before starting. This gets out any impurities left on the pan. Cook the sugar until it is dissolved and starts to turn amber. Continue cooking until all the sugar is amber in color. Add the warmed cream slowly – it will foam up. Add the walnuts, walnut extract and butter and stir until butter is melted. Pour this into the tart shell. Place on a cookie sheet (it tends to bubble over) Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, lower the oven to 325F and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The tart should be dark brown and the crust should be golden. Let cool in the pan until still warm and release from the pan. If it cools completely, the caramel that dripped over the sides will act like glue.

Serve warm or at room temperature


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