Walnut Tart Crust

A rich nut crust like this is the easiest for the beginner baker since it is pressed into the pan rather than rolled. Similar to a linzer torte crust, it is delicious baked and filled with a good Raspberry Sauce and topped with a layer of dark chocolate truffle filling. In the autumn we like to fill a prebaked nut shell with fresh cranberries that have been cooked with sugar just long enough to pop. And for Thanksgiving we make this crust with pecans to hold traditional pumpkin filling.

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups walnuts (or pecans)
  • ½ cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Lightly butter a 9-inch round (or 9-inch square) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Remove ground walnuts and set aside.
  3. Add the almonds and sugar to the food processor and pulse, scraping down the bowl several times, until ground into a powder.
  4. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and blend thoroughly.
  5. Add both nut mixtures to the creamed butter and mix on low speed until the dough begins to hold together.
  6. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour (or freeze until firm, about ½ hour).
  7. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
  8. Unwrap the shell and place on a baking sheet. Prick the shell all over with the tines of a fork. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the crust feels dry and looks puffy.
  9. Remove from the oven and gently press the bottom down with the back of a wooden spoon.
  10. Return to the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

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