Looking for a dessert that’s different from the same old, same old you make every holiday season? This Italian Cherry & Almond Tart with its buttery, flaky pastry, dark, squidgy cherries & light frangipane filling is a cert to wow the masses. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream (or both) & you won’t go wrong.
This pastry is forgiving. Don’t panic if it tears, it’s a short, ie: buttery, pastry so chances are it will. If the pastry does tear in a few places, push it back together using your fingers. Remember, you’re not painting the Sistine Chapel, just making pastry. Something to note when you’re making pastry is to use the tin or pie plate as a guide on how large to roll the pastry. If you have too much in the form of off-cuts, then you’ve rolled the pastry too thin & have essentially wasted good pastry. Don’t be a pastry waster. Hold or gently place the tin on the pastry then eyeball how much larger it needs to be.
All the tart needs once it’s baked is a dusting of icing sugar – or not. It isn’t essential. This tart isn’t overly sweet making a plain vanilla ice cream or chantilly cream an excellent accompaniment. The icing sugar adds a pretty element.
I found this recipe is the July 2018 issue of Delicious UK magazine & have made a couple of tweaks. All the measurements were in grams so I’ve converted them as close as possible to cups & tested it with my conversions. Not everyone has a scale in their kitchen & while cups are not the most accurate way to measure ingredients for baking, they’re certainly the most convenient.
Depends where in the world you are whether you fresh or canned cherries. I’ve baked it with both & both are equally as good. Of course if you use canned cherries you don’t have to remove the pits as you would with fresh. Fresh are wonderful because they’re fresh. Pictured is the tart using canned, dark cherries. Use what is available & makes sense for you.
Step out of the holiday baking box & try a luscious & rustic Italian Cherry & Almond Tart as part of the dessert offerings this year. Whether you’re hosting the festivities or taking a plate to someone else’s home, I promise this to be a keeper. Oh, don’t forget the ice cream. Chat to you soon, toodles,
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups all purpose (plain) flour
- 1/2 cup (4oz/125g) butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon iced water, approximately
- CHERRY FILLING
- 2 (scant) cups sliced (flaked) almonds (6oz/175g), plus extra for the top
- 3/4 cup (6oz/175g) softened butter
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (6oz/175g)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch salt
- 14 oz (400g) can dark cherries, drained (or fresh, pitted)
- pinch salt
- icing sugar for dusting
- To make the pastry: Combine all ingredients in the large bowl of a food processor until mixture just starts to forms a soft dough. Remove from processor & press mixture together to form a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll dough on a floured, smooth surface. Until it’s large enough to fit a 9-inch/23cm tart/flan pan with a removable base. Grease the tart pan & lift the pastry into it. If any pastry tears, just patch it back together. Lightly press the pastry into the pan. Trim the edge. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C/gas 6) placing a baking sheet on the bottom or second to the bottom rack in the oven.
- Line the pastry case with parchment/non-stick baking paper. Half fill with uncooked rice, dried lentils or pastry weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper & rice/lentils & bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the base is crisp & golden brown. Remove from oven; reduce oven temp to 325F (160C/gas 3) leaving the baking sheet in the oven.
- To make the filling: While the pastry shell cools, process 2 cups of almonds until very finely chopped.
- Cream the butter & sugar in a bowl of electric mixer until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add almond extract & salt; beat until well combined. Stir in the finely chopped almonds.
- Scatter cherries into pastry shell. Dollop in filling & smooth top, allowing some of the cherries to show. Sprinkle the top with some extra sliced almonds. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until top is golden brown & filling is set. Serve warm or cold dusted with icing sugar. Serves 8 to 10.