Caramel Nut Tart with Chocolate

By Phyllis Grant
December 16, 2014
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Author Notes: I call this a tart but it's really batch of salty nutty caramel candy baked into a tart shell and drizzled with chocolate. It's related to the Florentine cookie. It's similar to nut brittle (though a bit softer). It's packed with 3 cups of protein. It's a great way to use up all of the nuts in your freezer. Any kind of nut works. Finely chopped walnuts. Pecan halves. Slivered almonds. Throw them all in.

Editor's note: Use your favorite pie dough for the tart shell -- we like this one:
Phyllis Grant

Serves: 8 to 10

  • 1 recipe for your favorite tart or pie dough
  • 3 cups nuts (I use walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, and pine nuts)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  1. Choose your tart pan. A 9- or 10-inch round or square with removable bottom works great. Roll out your tart dough and press into your pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread nuts out on a sheet pan, and toast in the oven until they just start to brown. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Better yet, set a timer. Set nuts aside.
  3. In a deep pot, coat the sugar with a big splash of water (the liquid gives you a bit more control). Swirl (by the pot handle) over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Let it boil away for a few minutes. Once it starts to darken in patches, swirl the pan to make sure it's caramelizing evenly. The burning sugar will smell smoky and sweet. It's ready when it's the shade of Grade B maple syrup. (Think the color of an old copper penny.) It will continue to darken even after you remove it from the heat and it caramelizes more in the tart shell, so err on the lighter side. Take off the heat.
  4. Immediately (and carefully) whisk the the heavy cream into the caramel. Mixing caramelized sugar with heavy cream brings about quite a reaction: The mixture will rise up, almost overflowing. And then it will start to settle back down into a calmer mash-up of sugar, curds, and whey. Whisk it and it will unite into a creamy golden syrup. Add butter and stir until completely melted. Whisk in vanilla extract and salt. Add toasted nuts and mix until evenly coated with caramel. Pour mixture into prepared tart shell and spread it out evenly. Bake until edges of the crust are light brown and the caramel/nut mixture is bubbling and a shade darker (check after 30 minutes, but it will probably take a bit more time). Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Remove cooled tart from the pan. Place on a cutting board. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a small pot over incredibly low heat. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate all over the tart in any pattern you desire. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up. Just know that it's very rich -- so when you're serving, cut it into small pieces. It will keep at room temperature for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months.

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