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CARAMEL WALNUT TART

Ingredients:

Pie Crust (for 2 pies):

2-1/4 cups unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter

3 ounces cream cheese

1 large egg

Filling:

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cold water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1-1/4 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, plus 10 walnut halves

Directions:

Pie Crust:

Blend together the flour and salt.  Cut the butter pieces and work into the flour with mixer, food processor, or pastry blender until it resembles the texture of coarse sand.  Work in the cream cheese the same way.  Stir in the egg until a dough forms.  Lightly coat the dough with flour, wrap tightly, and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

Lightly butter and flour a 9"-11" springform pan. Center the chilled dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll dough from the center 1" larger than the pan.  Lift off one layer of wax paper and turn the dough, centered as best you can over the prepared tart pan.  Press the dough into the pan and then gently lift off the layer of waxed paper. Trim the edges that extend beyond the rim.  Prick the pan bottom with tines of a fork at 1/2" intervals.  Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the chilled pie pan with a sheet of wax paper or aluminum foil.  Weight the shell bottom with rice or dried beans.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the crust, lift out the weighted sheet, turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees and bake shell another 5-10 minutes until it is lightly browned along the edge.  Check at regular intervals and prick to release any air bubbles that form under the crust.

In a small dish, beat together the egg yolk and water.   Brush a thin layer of the egg wash over the bottom of the baked tart shell.  Return the pan to the oven for 2 minutes, until the glaze is set. Remove from the oven and cool crust on a rack.

Filling:

Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan, swirling the liquid so the sugar dissolves completely before the boil is reached.  Boil until the sugar begins to caramelize, 5-7 minutes.  Off the heat stir in the whipping cream and return to low heat, stirring until caramel dissolves. Simmer the caramel until it thickens, about 7 minutes.  Off the heat add the vanilla and butter

Whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended.  Slowly beat in the caramel.  Stir in the walnut pieces and pour the filling into the prebaked shell.  Place the walnut halves around the edge.  Put the tart on a bake sheet.

 

Bake until the filling has set except for a slightly wiggle center, about 20 minutes.  Cool the tart on a rack.  Remove the sides of the shell and serve the tart warm with creme anglaise.

 

Yield: 10 servings