Every fall we are blessed with a bounty of apples and walnuts. I grew up in what used to be a walnut orchard. At one time our home had 5 huge trees, covering both front and back yards, and yielding 500 pounds of walnuts a year (which sounds great unless you are the teenager chain-ganged into spending your afternoons and weekends raking mountains of dank leaves and stooping to pick those hundreds of pounds of nuts.) The trees are old now. We’ve lost 2 of the 5 trees (commercial orchard trees don’t last forever and these were planted at least 50 years ago), and the remaining trees are just sputtering. It’s only a matter of time before they’re gone too. So we enjoy the bounty while we have it (and leave a bunch for the crows and squirrels.) This tart is a riff on an apple walnut turnover I made this summer. Same idea, an outstanding combination by the way, just this time with maple syrup instead of honey, and in a dead-easy-to-assemble rustic tart form. It’s savory, and a little sweet. I ate a big slice for lunch; my father had his for dessert. Would be great for a brunch too.
- 1 Pâte Brisée (tart dough) for a 10-inch tart (see all butter crust recipe) or 1 packaged, flat pie crust
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or blue cheese)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 large granny smith apples (or other good cooking apples such as jonagold or fuji), peeled, cored, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
1 Toss the walnuts, gorgonzola, thyme, chopped apples, and maple syrup together in a medium size bowl. As you are working with the apples (chopping them, mixing them in with the other ingredients), if you want, you can squeeze a little lemon juice on them to help keep them from discoloring. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap while you prepare the crust.
2 Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry dough to 13-inches, at an 1/8 of an inch thickness. Place pastry dough on a rimmed baking sheet. (Rimmed because the pastry will leak butter during the cooking process.) Mound the filling in the middle of the rolled out dough, and spread out evenly to 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from the edge of the dough. Pleat the edges of the dough over the filling.
3 Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is nicely browned. If at any time it looks like the walnuts are getting a little burnt, you can lightly tent a piece of aluminum foil over the center.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. A pizza wheel works great for slicing up the tart.