Cherry tart, cherry pie. The differences are small but the fact remains this cherry tart recipe rule them all. Don't believe me? Go try it! And that will be the cherry on the cake)
You might have a ton of cherries for pie in your garden and are wondering what else to do with it. Who in their healthy mind can eat a whole tree full of cherries?
Your granny or mommy probably cooked you some cherry pie in the past. That family cherry pie recipe is probably pretty good and if you fear change then stick with it. No problemo.
But, you realised that it's times move on and it's time to cook something better than that tired old cherry pie.
More grown-up. Tastier. More balanced. More skilfully baked with a crust that never goes soggy. Cherry pie filling that tastes like cherries and not a truckload of sugar.
Cherry pie you can feel proud of.
This cherry tart is the answer.
Almond and Cherry frangipane tart to be exact.
Before you ask "What the f*ck is frangipane dude?". Let's jump straight in with this cherry tart recipe right at the beginning.
For the crust of this cherry tart, I have gone with a mix of flours, Flax and cocoa powder.
This mix is key to ensuring the crust stays crisp for days and does not get soaked while at the same time beautifully "short" and crumbly.
For the pastry crust:
- All-purpose flour - Any good quality plain white flour will do. For gluten-free just swap out for gluten-free flour
- Wholemeal flour - Just good quality, the coarseness is not that important. For gluten-free just swap out for gluten-free flour
- Flax meal - Blend your own from flax seeds but most stores stock this.
- Cocoa powder - 100% unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Powdered sugar - Otherwise known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar.
- Salt - Fine sea salt.
- Butter - Good quality natural butter with at least 82% fat.
- Egg - Whichever you like. My recipes use metric measurements which is the most accurate so it will be in grams. Just make sure it's natural real egg. You could even buy whole egg in cartons to make life easier.
For the filling:
You could use any nut meal for the filling but the classic Frangipane uses almonds and so do we. Almond and cherry is a flavour pairing that goes extremely well together. So, stay with almond meal for this recipe.
- Cherries - The star of the show. Fresh as you can get and Sweet as Lillies in May.
- Almond meal/flour - Just ground up almonds. Most stores stock this. Use peeled or unpeeled. No difference.
- Eggs - Same as before. Just make sure it's natural eggs.
- Butter - Guessed it, good natural 82% fat butter.
- Flour(optional) - Plain flour. Not traditionally used in frangipane but, I find it helps stabilise the filling a bit. For gluten-free just swap out for gluten-free flour.
- Sugar - Caster sugar or powdered sugar. Whichever you have.
- Lemon zest - Freshly zested. You could also try orange zest.
- Brandy(optional) - Use whatever you have or even a bit of cherry brandy would make sense.
- Salt - fine sea salt.
How to make it
The Pastry crust
The key to making great shortcrust sweet or savoury pastry is to work quickly and keep your ingredients cold. That's it. No magic ingredients or tricks.
- Sieve all the dry ingredients.
- Mix in cold butter until you have a sandy texture.
- Add in a beaten egg and quickly bring the mix together in a dough working quick but gently.
- Once a dough ball has formed, flatten out slightly as this would make the rolling out easier later. Cover and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough into a large round that would cover a 30cm/12 inch tart tin. The thickness is about 3mm. Don't stress too much though just get it in the form and press it around a bit making sure there are no thin or broken parts. I always roll out a thin coil of dough and press it into the bottom rim of the baking form. This reinforces the part where the base meets the walls of the crust.
- Carefully press the rolled out dough into the baking form and trim of the overhanging edges.
- Poke some holes in the base of the dough with a fork.
- Place a parchment paper filled with raw beans or rice into the centre. This is called blind baking. It's to ensure the crust is fully cooked and crispy before the filling gets cooked.
- Heat the oven to 160C. At this point place your tin with raw dough into the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes. Always cook pastry when well chilled. This ensures the butter does not leak out before the pastry cooks. If this happens the gluten in the flour pulls together and you end up with an oily chewy crust.
- Blind bake with the beans for 20 minutes at 160C. Remove the beans, brush the crust with a bit of egg white. Bake a further 5 minutes open without the beans at 140C.
- Remove the baked crust and let it fully chill down keeping it in its tin. We will bake the cherry tart in the tin so follow this step carefully.
When cooked it looks like this.
The Frangipane filling
You could make this in a mixer but, it works perfectly well without. Just make sure your butter is room temperature.
- Cream the butter and sugar together making sure it's homogenous and evenly mixed.
- Sift the dry ingredients and mix into the butter mix. Again, making sure it's well mixed.
- Beat the eggs, brandy and zest together. Add to the almond mix in increments mixing through well and making sure it's evenly mixed.
- When nice and smooth, cover and place into the fridge for 30 minutes while you remove the pips from the cherries.
- Inspect cherries for severe blemishes and spoilage. Discard what you don't like. Remove the stalks and pips/stones, keeping the cherries as intact as possible.
Baking the cherry tart
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- Put the frangipane filling into the tart shell. Making sure it's evenly distributed.
- Press the cherries into the frangipane. Also, making sure they are evenly placed but random. If some of the cherry tops get covered just scrape off the frangipane with the back of a knife.
- Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked in the centre.
- The internal temperature of the cherry tart should read above 90C.
- When cooked, remove from the oven and cool down in the tin once more. Do not try and lift it out. Otherwise, tears will follow)
- When cool. Place a plate on top and quickly flip upside down. Now, your tart faces the wrong way. Place another plate on top and flip again.
The last step is to brush the top with a bit of melted cherry jam or honey to give it that lovely shine. This step is optional and you can skip easily skip it.
For that professional finish though. Brush that bad boy.
Voila! And bon appetit!
Now you know why this cherry tart is no.1 and that old family recipe for cherry pie is left chewing dirt.
- Use any other fruit if you wish when it's at the hight or towards the end of the season. Think apricots, figs, pears, apples, and blueberries. They all make a great frangipane tart. Follow the same steps as for this cherry tart.
- You could use another nut meal. Walnut meal goes great with pears and figs while hazelnut goes well with apples and blueberries good with pistachio. When using pistachio meal blackberries are also great.
- The pastry crust can also be modified by using other combinations of flours and seed meals. You could substitute the wholemeal flour for rye flour, or ancient grain flours. The flax meal can be substituted for buckwheat flour or ground chia seeds.
- You could also make a Bakewell tart by spreading a thin layer of your jam of choice onto the base before adding the frangipane and fruit before baking as usual.
How to make this recipe gluten-free
You could easily make this recipe gluten-free by replacing the regular flour with gluten free flour or buckwheat flour.
When using buckwheat flour, make sure to use flaxseed or chia as well. this ensures your dough comes together. Otherwise, it will be extremely crumbly and will fall apart.
The natural thing to do is to want to stuff your face with this cherry tart as soon as it's done.
The wait alone, when cooling down is torture.
The smell is intoxicating and you know that something decadently naughty and ultra-delicious is coming your way.
Afternoon tea is the most fitting setting for this cherry tart in my book.
Bake it as a gift or take it along to your grannies house. She will tell you it's better than hers so don't be mean to her and jump the gun. Same goes for your mom.
If you're like me and not near your relatives then breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon, dinner or middle of the night are all good times to live a little and have a bite of the best cherry tart in the world.
After all, you made it.
Frequently asked questions and troubleshooting
Best cherries to use for cherry pie
The best is obviously fresh and in season. It tastes better. Alternatively tinned or frozen can also work. Make sure you get rid of all the excess liquid though. Otherwise, tears will follow.
Why is my pie crust wet?
Blind bake your crust first. It's the only way to keep it from getting soggy.
Frangipane not cooking in the middle
Follow the recipe properly and make sure the internal temperature reaches above 90C.
How long does this cherry tart keep?
Once cooled, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can follow me on Instagram @PANTSDWONAPRONSON and ask me any question by directly messaging me.
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More baking recipes
If you like sweet baking then try the following recipes:
Layered Russian honey cake(Medovik) - The recipe I make a living from in Russia.
Moist carrot and walnut cake - The most badass carrot cake in the world.
Bread and savoury biscuits?
Sourdough rye bread - Perfect for beginners and seasoned bakers alike.
Flaxseed sourdough - The easiest sourdough to handle with a beautiful crumb and crispy crust
Borodisnsky rye bread - My favourite bread with a chilling legend behind it.
Parmesan shortbread biscuits - Responsible for many successful sundowner snack and drinks parties.
Useful equipment for this recipe
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer
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