Rustic Cherry Tart
A delicious dessert to make when cherries are at their peak. I love this for two reasons: the beautiful, rustic free-form shape, and the jewel-like cherries glistening in the middle…the crust has some cornmeal in it, which tastes nice with the cherries.
Rustic Cherry Tart
Adapted from a recipe in the book “Delicious Fruit Desserts” by Dot Vartan
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4-6 tbsp ice water
1 pint (about 3 cups) fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 tbsp kirsch (or 1 tsp almond extract)
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten well
1-2 tsp decorator’s sugar (or plain granulated sugar)
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Drop in the butter and, using a pastry blender, cut the pieces of butter into the flour until you have pieces ranging in size from “large peas” to “oatmeal.”
Sprinkle in 4 tbsp ice water. Stir gently and lightly with a fork until the flour is moistened. Gather the dough and knead it against the side of the bowl 4-5 times (you might have to add extra ice water – I found I had to add another 2 tbsp or so.) Once the dough is kneaded, gather it into a ball and flatten into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, wash, stem and pit the cherries. Combine them in a bowl with 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp kirsch (or 1 tsp almond extract, if not using kirsch.) Let them macerate for the remainder of the hour while the dough rests in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 425. Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle between two sheets of parchment paper. Remove the top layer, and slide the pastry round onto a baking sheet, keeping the bottom paper in place. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cherry mixture to the center of the pastry round, spreading to within about 2 inches of the edges (reserve the cherry juices). Using the parchment paper to assist you, fold the edges of the dough back into the center, partially covering the cherries. Overlap the pastry slightly while folding, and press gently to seal. Pour the reserved cherry juices over the cherries.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg (you won’t use all of the egg, just use what you need to give the dough a nice shine) and sprinkle the dough with 1-2 tsp sugar.
Bake for 35-45 minutes (check after 30), until golden brown.
Makes about 6 servings.