It seems that tart Michigan pie cherries come along only briefly and only once a season – gotta grab ‘em while you can, which I did this last weekend at our local farmer’s market. The trouble, of course, is what to do with them. Those babies are TART.
A pie comes to mind.
But truth be told: I’ve never screwed up the courage to bake a pie.
But tarts I do. So yesterday I pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks – Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking – with every intention of adapting her golden cream apple tart to the cherries, but wound up co-opting another recipe instead – this one designed for pears. Worked out just fine, although it needed a little vanilla ice cream to smooth out the edges. (Dang those cherries are tart.)
¼ cup unblanched almonds
1 large egg, lightly beaten
5 tbsp granulated sugar (you might want to dial this up, depending upon the sweetness of your fruit)
2 tbsp kirsch
¾ cup heavy cream (or crème fraîche)
da fruit (enough to fill the shell – recipe calls for 6 to 7 ripe Bartlett pears; I had two pints of cherries, pitted and picked down to considerably less by the time I was done)
1 Pâte Brisée shell, pre-baked and cooled (recipe coming up)
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grind the almonds to a fine powder, and then mix in the egg, sugar, kirsch and cream.
Lay your fruit in the shell (I pitted mine the night before and let them rest in their juices into which I stirred some sugar to see if it would take the edge off. Almost.)
Slowly pour the cream filling over the top.
Bake until the filling has set and the shell is nicely browned (about 45 min – I like to bake my tarts on a small cookie sheet. Keeps things tidy.)
Sprinkle the top with the vanilla sugar while it’s still warm.
Oh right – the shell:
1 to 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (not unbleached)
7 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp ice water
Place flour, butter and salt in food processor and spin it until it’s coarse and crumbly.
Add ice water and pulse until it just begins to hold together (don’t let it form a ball).
Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in waxed paper and chill for about an hour.
Then roll it out and line your tart pan, prick the bottom with a fork, and chill for another 20 minutes.
Line with foil and weight with beans – pop it in the oven that way for 20 minutes at 375, and then another 20 minutes once you’ve removed the foil and beans.
Once it’s cooled off it’ll be ready to go (see above).
Freely adapted, all of it, from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking