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Dark Chocolate and Toasted Walnut Tart

This mildly sweet tart is loaded with pleasantly bitter walnuts both inside and out. Toasting the walnuts coaxes out their nutty flavor and crisps their texture. The dark chocolate in the filling adds yet another element of bitterness that is tempered by fragrant vanilla and the richness of butter and eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves, very coarsely chopped 
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 3 Tbs., melted 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 1/8 tsp. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 lb. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 

Directions:

Place one rack in the bottom of an oven and another rack in the lower third and preheat to 375°F.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts on the upper rack until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool. Finely grind 1/3 cup of the chopped walnuts in a food processor; take care not to overprocess them.

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together the 8 Tbs. butter and the granulated sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg yolk and 1 tsp. of the sea salt. Add the ground walnuts and the 1 1/4 cups flour and stir, working the dry ingredients into the butter mixture by smearing it against the sides of the bowl, until the dough comes together in large, shaggy clumps.

On a lightly floured work surface, press the dough into a mound and knead until it just comes together. Press the dough into a rectangle, then transfer it to a 13-by-4-inch fluted rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press off any excess dough from the edges of the pan. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the shell on the lower rack until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a fork to gently press down the bottom of the shell if it has puffed up during baking.

In a bowl, combine the corn syrup, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and remaining 1/8 tsp. salt. Whisk in the 3 Tbs. melted butter. Stir the chopped chocolate into the mixture along with the reserved chopped walnuts. Pour the filling into the crust and bake on the upper oven rack until the center of the tart is puffed and set, about 25 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. To serve, remove the tart from its pan and cut into slices. Serves 10.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).