Claire's Walnut Tart

#23 Dessert Person’s Walnut Tart

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Hi there! Today I mBakinga Dessert Person’s Walnut Tart. This recipe comes from Claire Saffitz’s book, Dessert Person.

Why I tried this recipe

I first learnt about Claire from watching the older Bon Appetit videos and have always wanted to try out her recipes. Hence, when I learnt that her new cookbook had been released, I got my hands on it as soon as possible to attempt some of its recipes. This nut tart was from the Savoury Nut Tart recipe. In it, she called for using pine nuts. However, I just swapped that out entirely for walnuts which was what I had on hand.

I have tried other recipes in her book including the Chewy Molasses (Treacle) cookie and the Upside Down Orange Oil Cake.

Experiences from trying Dessert Person's Walnut Tart recipe

The tart shell Claire recommended for the savoury nut tart was a type of press in crust. And boy was it easy to assemble and press into the tart pan. In fact, a large part of the entire recipe involved waiting. The tart shell needed time to chill upon first forming into a dough to allow the gluten to relax. Its second chilling was to allow it to get cold and let the butter firm up so that they can melt and let its water content evaporate into steam to help the crust rise slightly. Freezing the tart shell also allows it to maintain its shape while parbaking.

Filling for the Walnut Tart
Filling for the Walnut Tart

The filling for the walnut tart was also extremely easy to make. Claire shares that the idea of cooking the liquids in the filling was just to thicken it slightly. It should not be to cook it to a caramel stage. As such, it would end up looking very runny and still be perfectly fine. Afterall, the cook time in the oven would be where most of the important action would happen.

Overall thoughts about Dessert Person's Walnut Tart

I love this recipe.

Every component came together so easily. I found myself spending little effort for such a tasty product. Most of the time spent was really for waiting for different stages of chilling or par baking the tart shell.

The crust was much better than another version of a no roll pie crust I tried previously. And this walnut filling provided a savoury flavour that would not be common in dessert tarts. The amount of sweeteners added was just enough to coat the walnuts and provide them with a shiny finish without overpowering the savoury flavours of the tart.

As such, I would rate Dessert Person’s Walnut Tart as follows:
(1 being the poor, and 5 being the best)

Ease to make

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Dessert Person's Walnut Tart

A savoury walnut tart. Perfect for the person who does not usually like sweet desserts.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Pastry, Pumpkin Seeds, Tart, Walnut
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Resting time 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 slices


  • 8 inch tart pan
  • Baking tray


For Tart shell

  • 40 g extra fine ground almonds 3 tbsp
  • 130 g plain flour 1 cup
  • 30 g fine sugar 2 tbsp
  • 113 g salted butter, cold 1 stick + extra for greasing
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Walnut Filling

  • 250 g walnut halves 2 1/2 cups
  • 15 g pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp
  • 85 g honey 1/4 cup
  • 25 g fine sugar 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
  • 60 ml milk 1/4 cup
  • 60 ml vegetable oil 1/4 cup
  • 30 ml golden syrup 2 tbsp
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line half the baking tray with the walnut halves and pumpking seeds. Line the other half of the baking tray with the extra fine ground almonds.
  • Transfer the baking tray to the preheated oven to toast the walnuts, pumpkin seeds and extra fine ground almonds for 5 minutes. Let it cool.

For Tart shell

  • In a large bowl, add the toasted extra fine ground almonds plain flour, fine sugar and cold salted butter. Rub the cold butter between your fingers into the flour. This would break the cold butter into smaller pieces. They should be a similar size to the walnut halves.
  • Add the egg into the dough and incorporate well with your hand or a butter knife. The pastry should start to come together. It is done when there are no visible dry spots and it can come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. The pastry should also clump together when pressed between your fingers. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Grease your 8 inch tart pan well with butter. Take the cold pastry dough out from the refrigerator and transfer it into your tart pan. Use your hands to help spread the dough out to for a uniform layer on the tart pan. Transfer it to the freezer to rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Remove the tart pan from the freezer and use a fork to prick the base of the dough evenly. This would help prevent it from rising too much as it bakes. Transfer the tart pan to the oven to bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is a deep golden brown around the edges.
    If the tart shell is done parbaking before the filling is completed, you may remove from the oven and let it cool at room temperature as you continue to prepare the filling.

For Walnut filling

  • As the tart shell is baking, you can begin preparing the walnut filling.
  • In a medium saucepan on low heat, combine the honey, fine sugar, milk, vegetable oil and golden syrup until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking the mixture until it comes to a rapid simmer. Do not stir the mixture at all times. You may swirl it instead so that it does not catch at the bottom of the pan.
    The mixture will thicken slightly. However, it would not should not be cooked into a caramel at this stage.
  • Take the sugar mixture off heat and stir in the walnut halves, pumpkin seeds, fine salt, vanilla essence and Italian seasoning.
  • Transfer the walnut filling into the parbaked tart shell.
  • Return the tart to the oven to continue baking at 180°C for about 25 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and a deep golden brown.
  • Let the tart cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to transfer it to the serving plate. The tart is best consumed within the same day. However, it can be stored well covered at room temperature for about 3 days.


The original recipe was from Claire's book Dessert Person.
You may use combination of your favourite nuts to make up the 250g of walnuts to provide a slightly different flavour profile.
You may swap the 40g of extra fine ground almonds with 40g of plain flour for making the tart shell.
If the tart shell cracks after parbaking, you may mix some plain flour with water to create a paste to apply over the cracks. There is no need to bake the shell again to cook the paste. The filling can be poured over as per normal and the baking time of the filling need not be adjusted.
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8 inch tart ring with removable base,
Wooden Rolling Pin,
Walnut Halves and Pieces (1kg)