Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Rustic Tart

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.

Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Rustic Tart Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Method

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.

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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.

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25 Comments

  1. jonathan

    You really are a fan of this most righteous flavor combo, aren’t you?http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/apple_walnut_gorgonzola_turnovers/
    That’s cool, ‘cuz so am I ;^)
    I was once knocked over by an apple/rosemary tart at Aix Restaurant (closed) in NYC. You should try that match-up sometime, E.

    Rosemary would make a good substitute for the thyme in this recipe. Thanks for the suggestion jonathan! ~Elise

  2. arugulove

    I’m obsessed with galettes. They are so much easier to deal with than a pie but taste just as good.

    I’m excited about this post, as it sounds like a combination of my last two blogging adventures – apple, cheddar, and butternut squash galette and blue cheese and walnut cookies. They were individually delicious and I imagine the combination is particularly fantastic. Can’t wait to try it!

  3. Marie

    The apples on my trees are small, so “2 apples, chopped” doesn’t quite do it. What approximate volume? 2 cups? I’m gonna try this tomorrow!

    Actually, it’s 2 large apples. I probably got between 2 and 3 cups of chopped apple out of them. ~Elise

  4. Jersey Cook

    Wow, 5 walnut trees? That sounds like heaven. We have a couple of raspberry bushes in our backyard and I get too lazy to pick them all summer. I can’t imagine having 5 TREES to deal with!

    Also, this recipe sounds divine. I might throw all those ingredients into a frozen pie crust since I have one in the freezer. Do you think it would work?

    I think if you are using a typical frozen pie crust, not a flat one that you can fold over, that you’ll end up with the filling drying out too much. You might want to take a look at this sour cream apple pie recipe and tweak it with some walnut and gorgonzola. ~Elise

  5. kathleen

    Lovely, and perfect. I like this recipe for a number of reasons, but you are particularly kind to folks like me who will probably not make pate brisee. Thanks for saying a prepared crust works well, and without judgement, too. :)

    I think Trader Joe’s has an all butter frozen folded pie crust that works fine. I’m of the camp who likes the extra work of making my own pie crust, but not only do I have the time, I also find it to be a wonderful gating factor for keeping myself from eating too many desserts. And of course the taste of a good homemade crust is out of this world. But not everyone has the time or inclination to make their own crust, and there are some acceptable frozen ones out there. ~Elise

  6. June

    Love rustic tarts (we call them rusticas)because they are so NOT sweet and really let the ingredients shine. I’ll be trying your recipe pdq. Thanks Elise!

  7. elaine

    Could you use frozen puff pastry dough in place of the pastry dough here?

    Don’t know. If you try it, let us know in the comments how it turns out. ~Elise

  8. Kathy

    Hi Elise! This sounds awesome! I have a small apple tree in my yard but this year was able to harvest 40 lbs of apples from it! It is just a small tree and I was excited about that. But, now the search for good apple recipes because the 40 lbs isn’t enough for freezing. I was wondering about the gorgonzola cheese. Does it melt down and and cover the apples, kinda like Mozzarella? Or does it stay fairly firm kinda like cheddar when cooled? My husband isn’t a big fan of cheese, so I’m not sure if I should include it, although I’m sure the recipe would be lacking without it. Thanks again for this recipe and for all your work! I really enjoy your articles and recipes!

    The gorgonzola is there for flavor. It’s a type of blue cheese. It’s not melty like mozzarella. I would eat this tart while it is still warm, btw. ~Elise

  9. Elizabeth

    We have tons of pecans here. Do you think they would work as a substitute for the walnuts?

    Yes, I think they would work great. If you try the recipe using pecans please let us know in the comments how it turns out. ~Elise

  10. Talley

    Fun! We are on a rustic tart craze right now after receiving a bushel of fantastic apples. I think it’s one of the best things my fiancée makes for dessert. Your

    We’ve also been including cheese, usually parmesan, in our apple tart. Maybe we’ll try a blue cheese next time, I like the sound of that. If you’re interested, we just recently made a quick time lapse video of the apple tart being prepared.

  11. Jessica Lee Binder

    @Jonathan, I used to work at Aix! So sad it closed. It was an amazing restaurant and the pastry chef, Jehangir Mehta, did have some outrageous flavor combinations.

  12. Nikki

    I love galettes and tarts. I know that you have a (good) reason for using walnuts–500 pounds once upon a time, my goodness–but have you ever tried this with other nuts? A restaurant I live near makes one with almonds and I haven’t figured out how to replicate it yet–maybe with your crust though, since the crust is definitely my downfall.

    I haven’t (given that we still have so many walnuts), though I bet it would be good with pecans. ~Elise

  13. Christina

    This sounds divine. Just wondering — do you think one could prep it just up to the baking step, chill it in the frig, and then take it to someone’s house and bake it there to serve while warm? Thanks!

    Great idea. You could definitely get the whole thing prepared before baking, chill it, and bring it to the shindig and bake it there. Just make sure you bake it in a rimmed pan or there’ll be a mess! ~Elise

  14. B. Swetnam

    This recipe saved my life last night when I needed a fast dessert. It is wonderful everyone wanted the recipe. To all the readers that are intimated by the Pate Brisee, don’t be. It is the only pie crust that I can make and I keep a few balls in the freezer at all times. If you ever make this, and everyone should, you will never make another boring Apple Pie. Elise, great job!

  15. Karl

    Made it last night. It was just OK.

    The next time I will use more blue cheese (I used Amish Blue). There just wasn’t that tart and sour taste I would like more of.

    Second, I think it needed more sugar… brown would be nice. The maple syrup wasn’t enough to balance the tartness of the GS apples.

    Third, it really needed a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors.

    Fourth, I might try the jonagold instead of the GS apples.

    The crust was fantastic!

  16. Gordon

    Yumm!! Pecans instead of walnuts – but oh my!!

  17. Katherine @ NightOwlChef

    I made this last night as a “trial run” because I’ve been thinking it’ll be perfect for our office potluck this Thursday – and it turned out great! I love the flavor combination, and was so happy everything came out perfectly. Even the pate brisee crust was wonderful (my first time making homemade pie crust, and with a pastry cutter no less!). I might have put in a bit more maple syrup than your recipe called for, since I eyeballed it, but it was balanced just right between sweetness and tartness.

    Thanks as always, Elise!

  18. Mark

    Once again Elise I end up on your web site with a solution. For the first time in the 5 years we have been here an old walnut tree out our back door delivered about 5 pounds of beautiful walnuts. It’s been hard to find info on the proper way to “mature” them. Have you any advice? We husked them, washed and dried, and understand we should let them sit between two and six weeks. Some sites even have you soak them in salted water and put them in a dehydrator for 24 hours. What do you do?

    Either way, when they are ready this recipe is on the short list!

    Thanks!

    We have large frames of chicken wire spread out under our outdoor covered patio. The walnuts are spread out on these frames so that they can get a lot of air circulation. We’ll have them this way for a couple of months before working on cracking them. Though you can crack them right away too, it’s just that I think they taste better if you wait a while. ~Elise

  19. Lubinka

    I live in Europe and maple syrup is not an easy ingredient to find. Could you please suggest a substitute? I’d really like to give it a try, but wouldn’t want to receive a messy result regarding the sweetness.
    Thanks in advance.

    You can substitute honey for the maple syrup. ~Elise

  20. rob

    I just finished a trial run for thanksgiving and a client’s pot luck. I love the recipe but there is something missing… maybe a bit of tart or acid? any suggestions?

    Maybe add a little more lemon juice and a pinch of salt. ~Elise

  21. Jen

    Very tasty! My brother thinks it tastes like a savory desert pizza. I used a frozen crust, but bet it would be even better with the home-made! Maybe another day, or when my kids get a little bigger =)

  22. liz

    YUM. This recipe really does a great job of blending the sweet and savory. I added sage instead of thyme and sweetened up the crust a bit with some white sugar. Very versatile dish and great for my vegetarian friends!

  23. Deniece

    Not only is this recipe amazingly delicious, but it is SOOO incredibly fast AND easy (including the crust)!! I’ve made it twice now with a couple modifications:
    1) I used about 1/4c of brown sugar instead of the maple syrup
    2) I used pecans instead of walnuts (personal preference)…

    After reading through the comments and questions about the use of both of these ingredients I say – just do it! You won’t be sorry!!! :)

    Additionally, the use of fresh thyme enhances the flavors in this dessert so much more than the dried spice. And for all of you with a rich palette, add in some extra gorgonzola, you’ll be glad you did.

  24. Emiko

    I know what’s next on my list as I try to get through the mound of apples I just picked this weekend (and the sour cream apple pie is next after that). While I do like gorgonzola, I really like cheddar with my apples. Plus, there is cheddar already in my fridge. If I were to make that substitution, do you think should I omit the thyme or replace it with another herb or spice? Thanks!

    I think you can keep the thyme in, it should be fine, it pairs well with cheddar. ~Elise

  25. Rachel

    Just made this rustic tart this morning – it was great!

    I used roasted hazelnuts instead of walnuts and fresh, local Braeburn Apples. I also used mostly honey with just a touch of syrup for depth of flavor. I used a store-bought crust but had to bump up the temp to get the crust to brown.

    Thanks for the great recipe.

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