Sunday, June 27, 2010
Yaay! Cherry season!
I finally made a successful tart! (I've made a couple with my new-ish tart pan, but nothing I was proud of).
A fresh cherry tart. With cherries we bought at a stand while on a day trip to Hood River. Good times, that.
Right, so pretty much the exact reason why I ordered a tart pan and a cherry pitter with one of the gift cards we were given at our wedding was to make cherry tarts, and cherries are finally in season, so I did just that this evening, heavily inspired by this recipe.
And here is how to make your own.
Begin by pitting 2 lbs of fresh cherries. Since the fruit is really the highlight of the desert, make sure you are using tasty fruit that is in season.
I'm not going to lie, the fact that the cherry juice splatter looks a bit like blood kind of amused me. Man, biologists are weird.
Toss the cherries with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a half teaspoon vanilla extract, and let sit while you make the crust.
Simple syrup infused with vanilla would have been better, but I am lazy sometimes.
For the tart shell, blend together 1 1/2 cups of white flour, a stick of softened butter, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Blend until the mixture looks like crumbs.
Then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a half teaspoon of almond extract (both extracts are optional, but they highlight the cherry flavor) a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of cream, and enough water to make everything just barely stick together. I think I used about 3 tablespoons.
You'll get a wad of pastry that should just barely hold together. Flatten the ball into the tart pan, until there is an even layer of pastry covering the entire pan.
Like so. Prick all over with a fork, and bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes. (you're technically supposed to use pastry weights to ensure even baking, but meh. I warned you of my laziness earlier.)
Let the tart shell cool for 5 or so minutes, then arrange the cherries so that there are no gaps in the tart. If you like your cherries really fresh, then you could be done now.
Buut I wanted a warm tart, so I baked it at 375 for 5 minutes.
It was good, and The Man really liked it.
And since you are essentially eating cherries and shortbread, you only have to feel sort-of guilty for eating an extra piece.
One note, because the whole ensemble is baked for so short a time, I didn't want to try and use any custard to hold the thing together, so the cherries will fall off of the crust, like in the picture below. While that didn't bother us at all, if you want to serve this for company, you may want a prettier recipe, like one of these: