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 3 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)
1Toss 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 Roll out the dough: 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.)
3 Add filling, pleat dough around edge: 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.
4 Bake: Bake at 350°F 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.