Salty Nut Tart with Rosemary

Season: All | Active Time: 40 minutes (not including making the Sweet Tart Dough) | Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus time to cool | Difficulty: 2 (Easy)

This luxe tart is one of those rare desserts whose looks and flavor belie its ease. The oven does all the work! The filling is a mixture of toasted pine nuts and walnuts stirred into a rosemary-spiked honey syrup that caramelizes as it bakes inside the tart crust—no stovetop caramel cooking required. The final tart is rich (thanks to the fatty pine nuts) and pleasingly sweet-savory. During the testing process it was a favorite among my family, all of whom thought it was delicious, and also a favorite of mine for how fancy yet unfussy it presents. Since caramel, nuts, and rosemary are all great accompaniments to cheese, this tart really shines when served with an aged cheddar, Comté, or a mild creamy blue.

Serves 12

Special Equipment: 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan, food processor (for the Sweet Tart Dough)

1 cup pine nuts (5 oz / 143g) ①

1 cup walnuts (4 oz / 113g), coarsely chopped

¼ cup honey (3 oz / 85g)

¼ cup sugar (1.8 oz / 50g)

¼ cup heavy cream (2 oz / 57g)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (2 oz / 57g)

2 tablespoons light corn syrup (1.4 oz / 40g)

½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Sweet Tart Dough (this page), parbaked in a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan and cooled ②

¼ teaspoon flaky salt, for serving

Preheat the oven and toast the nuts: Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Scatter the pine nuts and chopped walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, shaking halfway through, until they’re golden brown and fragrant, 6 to 9 minutes. After 5 minutes keep a watchful eye since pine nuts burn easily! Remove them from the oven and set the nuts aside to cool. (Leave the oven on.)

Cook the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, heavy cream, olive oil, and corn syrup and cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a rapid simmer. Cook the mixture without stirring, swirling the pan often, until it has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

This is an approximate end point—the idea is to cook off some moisture and make sure all the ingredients are well combined, not to cook it until it’s caramel. The mixture will still be quite liquid. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the kosher salt, vanilla, and ¼ teaspoon of the rosemary. Add the toasted nuts and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Fill the tart and bake: Place the cooled, parbaked tart crust on a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Scrape the filling mixture into the tart, distributing all the nuts across the bottom so the liquid pools evenly around them. Bake until the filling around the nuts is bubbling and the surface is deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the tart aside to cool slightly.

Top with rosemary salt: While the tart is still warm, in a small bowl, combine the flaky salt and remaining ¼ teaspoon rosemary and rub between your fingertips for a few seconds to release the fragrant oils. Sprinkle the mixture over the tart and let the tart cool completely (it will set as it cools).

Serve: Pop the tart out of the ring. Slide a thin metal spatula between the tart base and the bottom of the tart to loosen it, then carefully slide it onto a serving plate and cut into wedges.

The tart, covered and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 4 days but is best served on the first or second day while the crust is still snappy. Make sure the tart is tightly wrapped to prevent the caramel from pulling moisture from the air and turning sticky (especially in humid weather).

① Pine nuts are pricey, so feel free to substitute another nut, such as blanched almonds in their place. If you have the budget, though, and you can find them, I recommend Italian pine nuts, which are longer, more cylindrical, and generally tastier than the more ubiquitous, triangular Chinese pine nuts. Pine nuts are very high in fat and go rancid quickly, so keep them fresh in an airtight container in the freezer.

② Double-check that your parbaked tart crust has no cracks, as the liquid filling will seep through even small ones. If you don’t have any tart dough available for patching, mix together a small amount of flour and water to make a soft dough and use that like spackle to seal any cracks (no need to bake the crust again before filling).

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