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Maple Walnut and Chocolate Tart

Have you ever boarded a plane on Thanksgiving Day with a pink pie box in hand? I have. I don’t know how many fellow travelers have teased me with, “Is that a pumpkin pie for me?” Smile. They don’t know the pink box carries a walnut and chocolate tart, a less sugary cousin of pecan pie. Filled with walnuts, bittersweet chocolate, and maple syrup, this tart is not excessively sweet. And not what you’d expect.

Walnut and Chocolate Tart

You can see by the photo that the filling is dark in chocolate—and when it’s still warm, that chocolate is soft and oozy, like a chocolate chip cookie that spent the afternoon in a hot car. Those chopped walnut pieces provide plenty of chunk, and their slightly bitter skins even out chocolate’s richness. Like I said, sweet, but not too much.

No processed sugar here. Well, except for the chocolate. Sugar in chocolate doesn’t count, right? I used my oat pie pastry for the crust, with coconut sugar replacing white sugar, and whole wheat pastry flour taking the place of all-purpose flour. Both bump up the flavor and health quotient.

This recipe can be either a pie or a tart. It just depends on how you form the crust. Don’t have a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom? Just bake the pastry and filling in a pie plate. Then it’s a pie.

When your relatives ask you to bake the pies, say of course. But bring a tart—this walnut and chocolate one. In a pink pie box.

Blind baking step-by-step for Walnut and Chocolate Tart

Walnut and Chocolate Tart kitchen notes:

  • Blind bake the shell for about 15 minutes before adding the nuts and filling. Blind what? Blind-bake is a curious term that means to pre-bake an empty tart or pie shell with weights. The weights can be dried beans and/or rice kernels, or special purchased weights. (I keep a jar of used and re-used beans/rice in my pantry for blind-baking occasions. The beans get a bit stinky over time but last just about forever.)
  • Do you need your walnut and chocolate tart to be gluten free? Use a nut crust—like this one.
  • Because maple syrup is thinner than corn syrup, the typical sweet component in nut pies, I added a bit of cornmeal, the thickener in chess pies, to insure the filling isn’t too runny.

If you make this recipe let us know! Leave a comment below, take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #lettycooksveggies.

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Walnut and Chocolate Tart
Print
Walnut and Chocolate Tart
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

What can I say—this is a very delicious dessert. Serve with vanilla whipped cream, or better yet, vanilla ice cream. Hide a sliver for tomorrow’s breakfast, for even more happiness! Makes one (9-inch) tart or pie--10 to 12 servings.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 10 servings.
Author: Letty Flatt | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 (9-inch) tart shell, chilled (I used a variation of my oat pie pastry recipe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon dark molasses , optional (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Real Salt
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cup (about 5 ½ ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) chopped dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s)
Instructions
  1. On a clean flat surface, using flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking, roll the dough into a (11-inch) circle, about 1/8-inch thick. If you use my oat pie pastry recipe, you should have leftover dough. (see note)
  2. Fit the dough circle into a 9-inch fluted tart ring with removable bottom, pinching extra dough in as needed to build up the sides so they are sturdy. Refrigerate until cold, or freeze 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375° F. Place the empty pastry shell on a baking sheet. Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes. (see note)
  4. While the crust is blind baking, assemble the filling: Beat the eggs in a bowl using a hand whisk. Whisk in the maple syrup, the molasses if using, the cornmeal, butter, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Spread the walnuts and chocolate in the bottom of the blind-baked shell. Pour the filling evenly over the nuts and chocolate. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until filling is just set in the middle. Let cool about ½ hour.
  6. Serve with vanilla whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon.
Recipe Notes
  • Grade B maple syrup is always my first choice. However, the best price for maple syrup seems to be at Costco—and they sell Grade A. The teaspoon of molasses deepens the flavor of the lighter Grade A.
  • Cornmeal thickens chess pies—and does the same job here. Because maple syrup is thinner than corn syrup, the typical sweet component in nut pies, I added a bit of cornmeal to insure the filling isn’t too runny.
  • Roll leftover dough scraps again and cut into uneven squares. Sprinkle with cinnamon and (coconut) sugar and bake until golden. That’s what my Mom did.
  • To blind bake: Line the pastry in the pan, with parchment paper or aluminum foil that extends 2 to 3 inches above the pan. Fill the paper-lined pastry with pie weights or dried beans, making sure the paper and beans are tucked into the corners of the dough to make a sharp inside edge. After removing the blind-baked crust from the oven, let cool five minutes. Carefully remove the paper and pie weights.

7 comments

  • Hi Letty, Would the chocolate be like an 85% dark chocolate or a bittersweet bar? I’m going to definitely make this! Reply · 24 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Maura, I think the trader joes is more like a 65%. It doesn’t say on the label–I checked. Reply · 25 November, 2014

  • KATHRYN DECKERT

    Letty yesterday I was debating whether to make a chocolate walnut bourbon pie but was grossed out by the corn syrup.Were you reading my thoughts?? Kathryn Reply · 24 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Yes, reading your mind…. Reply · 25 November, 2014

  • This looks like pure chocolate heaven on a plate…and my best shot at separating my Southern husband from the pecan pie we have year after year. Happy Thanksgiving!! Reply · 25 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Kate. I bet you can sell him on the change. The chocolate was a late addition to mine. I had planned to just make it walnut without the corn syrup–and maybe some dried cranberries–but the chocolate snuck right in. Reply · 25 November, 2014

  • […] blogging (thank you http://www.com) Letty of Letty’s Kitchen was the Executive Pastry Chef at Deer Valley Resort for more than 30 years. If you’ve yet to […] Reply · 17 January, 2017

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