Caramelized Nut Tart

Adapted from the Williams & Sonoma Complete Seasonal Cookbook. San Francisco, CA: Weldon Owen Inc., 1997.

The original recipe calls for equal amounts of hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts & sliced almonds. I left out the hazelnuts and increased the other nut quantities. I also adjusted the recipe to fit a 10″ tart pan, so the amounts are a little odd. Honestly, their directions can compete with mine for lack of clarity. But it was delicious so how bad could it be?

1 10-inch short-crust tart shell, baked until lightly golden (recipe follows from their cookbook but feel free to use your favorite pie crust)

Filling:

Total of 1 1/4 cups nuts, (generously measured):
6 Tbsp. sliced almonds
6 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp. chopped pecans

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and roast at 350F for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Position oven rack in the upper part of the oven and raise the temperature to 400F.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Boil until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in nuts. Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour filling into tart shell, place on a baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly colored and dotted all over with small holes, 30-35 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 minutes, remove and slide onto serving plate. Serve at room temperature.

Short Crust:
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
13 Tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks plus one Tbsp.) cut into pieces
about 1 1/2 Tbsp. water

Place flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a food processor, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water a little at a time until it just comes together.

Gather into a ball, press into a 6″ disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Roll out or press into tart shell. Place in freezer 30 minutes. (This helps produce a flakier crust)

Line the pastry with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights.

Bake at 400F 10 minutes. Remove foil and weights, reduce heat to 375F, continue baking 15-20 minutes longer until lightly golden.

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