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Cherry Tart Tested Recipe

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Cherry Tart Recipe

Fresh cherries means Summer has finally arrived. This pretty Cherry Tart takes a fluted pastry shell and fills it with a layer of almond flavored cream (Frangipane) and pitted sweet Bing Cherries. To make the cherries glisten, after the tart comes out of the oven each cherry is lightly brushed with red currant jelly.

The pastry crust we use for this Cherry Tart has a sweet flavor and crisp yet crumbly texture. It needs to be prebaked (cooked blind) and as always, make sure you prick the bottom of the crust and have it chilled before baking to prevent it from puffing up. Also, because of the sugar in the pastry you will need to line the pastry first with parchment paper and then weight the paper down with rice or dried beans. The pastry is baked until it is completely dry and a nice brown color. After the pastry crust has cooled it is then ready to be filled with the almond cream, also known as frangipane. This cream is a combination of sugar, butter, eggs, and almond meal that has a wonderful sweet almond flavor that pairs well with cherries. (You can buy almond meal (flour) which is blanched almonds that are finely ground. But if you cannot find it simply take blanched almonds and process them in your food processor, with the 1 tablespoon of flour, until finely ground.) Once the cream is spread onto the pre-baked pastry shell, the next step is to pit the cherries.

First, when buying Bing cherries look for plump and shiny fruit with a deep red, almost black, color. They should be firm to the touch with no soft spots, and their stems should still be attached. Pitting of cherries is always a tedious job and the task is made easier if you have a cherry pitter. However, if you do not own such a tool, than you need to do it by hand. The easiest way I have found to do this, is to make a small slit in the cherry, with a small sharp knife, from the stem end to the bottom of the cherry. Then, using the tip of the knife or your thumbnail, remove the pit. This process is best done over a bowl so any dripping juice will fall into the bowl and not stain your countertop. The pitted cherries are evenly placed on top of the frangipane and the tart is baked until the cream is puffed and light brown in color. Cool the baked tart and then brush the red currant glaze on the cherries. Glazing the fruit is done for a couple of reasons, to keep the fruit from drying out and to make it wonderfully shiny. This Cherry Tart is excellent served warm or at room temperature, although leftovers can be covered and refrigerated.

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Sweet Pastry Crust:  In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your mixer and beat until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. (Don't over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color.) Add flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball.  Flatten the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firm.

Have ready an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11 - 12 inch (28 - 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan.

When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan).  Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan. Roll rolling pin over top again to get rid of any extra pastry. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten in the flour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights, rice or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly golden brown. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack before filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Frangipane: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the almond meal and flour and beat until it forms a smooth paste. Spread the cream on the bottom of the pastry crust.

Place the pitted cherries evenly over the frangipane. Bake for about 25 - 35 minutes, or until the frangipane is puffed and light brown in color. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, gently heat the red currant jelly in a small saucepan until of spreading consistency. Then with a small pastry brush, lightly brush each cherry with the glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 - 9 - 10 inch (23 - 25 cm) tart.

Reference:

Ferrary, Jeannette & Fiszer, Louise. Sweet Onions & Sour Cherries. Simon & Schuster. New York: 1992.

Sweet Pastry Crust:

1 1/2 cups (200 grams) all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Frangipane (Almond Cream):

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (45 grams) almond meal (flour)

1 tablespoon (12 grams) all purpose flour

Topping:

3/4 - 1 pound (340 - 454 grams) sweet cherries, pitted

Glaze:

1/4 cup (60 ml) red currant jelly

 

 

 

 

 
 
     
 

 

 

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