As tasty as pecan pie and other similar nut pies are, that rich filling can sometimes make the pies a little bit heavy. This Citrus Walnut Tart is a nut-filled dessert that is a little bit lighter overall, but no less rich in flavor. The tart starts with a cookie-like base that has a buttery flavor and a nice hint of crunch to it. It is topped with walnuts and a sweet, maple and citrus syrup.
The tart is easy to put together because the crust is made with the creaming method, like many cookie doughs, and there is no need to fuss with a pastry crust, pie weights or anything like that. It is simply pressed into the pan and baked. I used a lightly beaten egg white to create a little bit of a seal on the bottom crust to prevent the filling from saturating it and making it soggy. As you make it, it may not seem like there is that much syrup to create the filling for this tart, and that is true. This is because the walnuts are the star here and the citrusy syrup simply serves to give them a flavorful coating and bring new flavors into the dessert.
If you don’t have a tart pan, you can also press this crust into a 9-inch square pan and come up the sides of the baking dish about 1/3 of an inch. Although you’ll have to serve it in squares rather than slices, you’ll still get all the flavor of the original dessert. In fact, this is a great option if you’re looking for a slightly more casual way to serve this, or for something to take to a holiday party where bars might serve more people than a tart would.
Citrus Walnut Tart
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg white
2 cups walnut halves or coarsely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375F.
Make the crust. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg yolks, followed by the all purpose flour and salt. Continue to mix at medium-low speed. Dough should start to come together but still be slightly crumbly.
Turn dough out into a 9-inch tart pan and press into an even layer and up the sides.
Bake for 12 minutes, until crust starts to turn a light golden brown at the edges.
Lightly beat egg white. Brush a layer egg white onto crust with a pastry brush. Return to oven and bake for 3-4 additional minutes.
Cool crust for about 30 minutes before filling.
Spread walnuts in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared tart crust.
In a medium sauce pan, combine brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, salt, lemon zest and orange zest. Cook over medium heat until mixture just comes to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir vanilla extract.
Pour syrup evenly over walnuts.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until filling is slightly bubbly.
Cool completely before serving.