I don’t care much for cherries. I’ve never had cherry pie nor have I really had the urge to make one. But a few days ago I came across a post on cherry coconut friands and a post on cherry crumble cake over at Mowielicious that changed my mind about cherries. He had some really inspiring cherry dessert photos. I noticed Mowie’s friand batter was made with coconut and ground almonds. And then I remembered almond cream… a delicious filling made with sugar, ground almonds, butter, and eggs. Wouldn’t some nice fresh sweet cherries pair really well this filling? Yes. I could almost smell it…cherry almond cream tart it is!
I was headed back from the market with my bag of fresh cherries and realized I did not have a cherry pitter. Pits. Another reason why I avoid eating cherries. Maybe I should buy a cherry pitter on my way home? I love new gadgets! Luckily my urge to constantly de-clutter my home stopped me from buying a kitchen tool that only accomplishes one task.
Alton Brown once suggested on Good Eats to use a star shaped pastry trip to hull strawberries. Works on strawberries, why not cherries? It took a few cherries and few different size tips but I figured it out…
So beautiful and no cherry pitter required!
On to the tart…The tart is made with a flaky tart dough filled with almond cream and topped with sliced cherries. I used sliced almonds to decorate the edge. The shiny glaze finish is brushed on heated apricot preserves. So why is there also a mini tart in this next photo? Well, I took the trimmings from the main tart and realized it was just enough to fill my mini tart pan. Why waste good tart dough?
I loved the outcome of this tart. It tasted just as a I imagined. I think if I made it again I would have to keep the cherries halved instead of sliced. (This is because the almond cream rises and hides the smaller cherry slices.) I might just experiment some more with cherries now! My husbands reaction to my making a cherry tart last night was one which lacked any sort of excitement. “Want a piece?”, I asked. “Eh, I don’t really like cherries”, he says. So I said “c’mon, give cherries a chance. I did.” After having two slices, even he had to admit…the tart was pretty darn good.
Recipe for Cherry Almond Tart
For the crust:
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
4 1/2 Tbs cold butter (cubed)
35mL cold water
Mix together the dry ingredients. In an electric mixer combine the dry ingredients and the cold butter and paddle on slow speed until the butter is the size of small lentils. Add the water gradually and mix until just combined. Use your judgement here, don’t use all the water if it looks like the dough has come together. Wrap and store the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
For the almond cream:
6 Tbs butter
3/8 cup sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
1 1/2 Tbs corn starch
1 Tbs amaretto (optional)
In an electric mixer, paddle the butter, sugar and almond flour until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the corn starch and mix to combine. Finally, add in the amaretto or any liqueur of choice.
For the tart:
sliced almonds for decorating
2-3 Tbs of apricot preserves
Wash, pit, slice your cherries or just cut halves. I do have not amount of cherries here because it is really up to you and how you decorate your tart. Roll out your dough to 10 inches and line an 8 inch tart ring with the dough, trimming off the excess. refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes. Using a fork, poke holes on the bottom of the dough. Fill the tart shell with the almond cream spreading it as evenly as possible. Place your cherries on top and add sliced almonds if you wish. Bake at 350 F for about 30-35 minutes or until the top has browned and the almond cream has set. Heat the apricot preserves on the stove top until it becomes liquid. Brush on the preserves (avoid the chunks) onto the cooled tart.