June 16, 2013

Caramel Nut Tart

Week two of tarts, and after a rather difficult initiation, this week's recipe offered a bit of a reprieve. The tart is as simple as it sounds, with only three simple parts: pate brisée, caramel, and nuts. Our bakers enjoyed the simplicity of this recipe after last week's challenge. This would be a good tart any time of year for any occasion.

Standard bake, standard measure
Nuts: hazelnuts, cashews, slivered almonds, pistachios (all unsalted and roasted)

I love cashews and was looking forward to this tart. After procuring an assortment of nuts, I made the pate brisée. I have a tried and true recipe, but this one was quite different. Usually, I cut the butter into the flour in a food processor, leaving specks of butter throughout. However, in this recipe, the butter must be fully incorporated. Apparently, this is a French technique. The dough came together quite well, and I made enough for the rest of the tarts in the chapter. It was also easier to roll out and fit into the tart pan than the pate sucrée. 
Blind baked the crust, let it cool, then started on the caramel jam. Having made caramel many times before, this was not difficult. Although, when stirring in the cream, the steam from the hot caramel was so hot it was difficult for me to stand close by. After spreading the toasted nuts in the tart shell, I poured in the caramel. I momentarily forgot that the recipe calls for only half the caramel jam, and over filled the tart a bit. But, no one ever said no to extra caramel, right? 
After setting up, I cut a tiny sliver, expecting a super sweet tart. I was pleasantly surprised! The nuts complement the caramel perfectly, and the crust wasn't sweet at all and very crumbly. I love the contrast in colors and shapes of all the different nuts.
It would be fun to experiment with different combinations of nuts, using whatever you might have on hand. Overall, an easy tart, especially if you have some tart dough in the freezer.

Standard bake
Pate Brisée
unsalted hazelnuts, cashews, slivered almonds, pistachios (skinned and roasted)

This tart is so pretty and was made quickly. I made the Pate Brisée. I normally cut the butter in small cubes but with this recipe I shredded the cold butter so that it would incorporate with the flour much easier. The crust baked evenly and came out golden brown. I placed one layer of nuts in the bare shell as directed and made the filling which was the Caramel Jam. I was surprised once again to see how easy it was to make this recipe. It took a few minutes for the mixture to reach 248˚. It turned out perfect and I am pleased to report it never scorched while cooking. I strained the caramel as instructed and it was very smooth. I poured the caramel over the nuts and filled the crust until it almost overflowed. I let it set overnight. I took the tart to a dinner party where everyone had a sliver which was a problem for some of the party goers. They all loved the caramel and variety of nuts. The caramel was firm and held its shape nicely.
Guest Baker: Julie
Our guest baker this week had a few technical difficulties with the recipe, but persevered and ended up with delicious results! Read her blog for more information.

This was definitely a favorite of mine (even if I did drop it on the floor the first time around).




  1. Hi I have never made caramel before and I tried to follow the caramel jam recipe in the book. Did you wait for the temperature to get to 350F before adding butter and cream?

    1. Yes, wait for the sugar mixture to get to the right temp, then add the butter first and then the cream. It will bubble up and get lighter in color, so make sure your pan is deep enough.