This great summer dessert is a great way to take advantage of all the cherries at the market. Try mixing some blueberries in with the cherries for a 4th of July treat! Don’t be dismayed by the long list of ingredients here as most of them will be in your cupboard. And much of the work is taken away if you have an electric mixer or processor.
- 450g/1lb cherries
- confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
- For the Sweet Pie Pastry
- 85g/3oz/6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 85g/3oz/6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 185g/6½oz/1½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Almond Filling
- 110g/4oz/½ cup butter, softened
- 100g/3½oz/½ cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, beaten to mix
- 110g/4oz/1 cup ground almonds
22cm/9in tart pan with removable base
1. Make the sweet pie pastry, wrap and chill it (see Glossary p.00). Roll out the dough, line the pie pan and chill 15 minutes (see Glossary p.00). Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and set a baking sheet low down in the oven to heat so the base of the tart cooks thoroughly.
2. For the almond filling: Cream the butter in an electric mixer or processor, add the sugar and salt and beat vigorously until the mixture is light and soft. Gradually beat in the egg and egg yolk. Lastly, stir in the ground almonds and stir by hand or use the processor pulse button, taking care not to overmix or the oil will be drawn out of the almonds, making the filling heavy. Spread the almond filling in the tart shell. Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or the tip of a vegetable peeler. Arrange the cherries, stem end down, in concentric circles on the filling. If you start at the edge of the tart, it’s easier to get concentric circles. Chill the tart for 10-15 minutes.
3. Set the tart in the oven on the heated baking sheet and bake until the pastry is brown and starts to pull from the sides of the pan, 35-45 minutes. The filling will puff around the cherries and brown too. Let the tart cool on a wire rack.
4. To unmold the tart, set it on an upturned bowl so that the pan rim slips down over the bowl. Using a metal spatula, slide the tart from the base on to a flat serving plate – be sure the serving plate is flat so the tart does not crack. Just before serving, lightly sprinkle the tart with confectioners’ sugar and serve it warm or at room temperature.
Getting Ahead: Try this tart the next day, when it will be moister and richer.
On the Side: A scoop of vanilla ice cream or single cream is always welcome, though by no means necessary.
In the Glass: A cherry almond tart invites a glass of sweet Muscat such as a Beaumes de Venise.
From Good Food No Fuss by Anne Willan, 2003
Photo CREDIT: Roger Stowell