Phew. It is hot here. Being a Seattle "shade plant", I really have no tolerance for heat. But that hasn't stopped me from baking! I may have to take a break this week because I am sweating just typing this post. The inspiration for these tarts came from...no where. They were completely spur of the moment. My parents and their friend went out to dinner, and I decided to make a secret dessert for them when they came back. They had no idea what was coming, although I did have to warn them not to get dessert at the restaurant. I'd been to Pike Place Market earlier in the day to get ingredients for a cupcake order for Monday. But once you get to the market, it's sort of hard to control yourself from buying all the amazing fruits there. We ended up buying 2 lbs of rainier cherries. While some might complain that living in Seattle means too much rain (not me), there are many perks. One of which is that we get the best rainier cherries, not to mention, delicious apples all year long. I can't eat fruit, and we had 2 lbs of cherries in the fridge. They were calling to me! I decided to make a cherry-centered tart. I hope you try this if you can get rainier cherries (or any other type of cherries, really).
Sweet Tart Dough
1 cup+ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter; room temp
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs; room temp
3 1/2 cups AP Flour
Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth. Mix in 1 egg. Add the remaining egg and mix until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed until incorporates.
On a lightly floured surface, divid the dough into 4 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1/2" thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3/4 lb rainier cherries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Take 1/2 lb cherries and puree in a food processor until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 4 minutes (this will make the puree denser).
Combine 1/4 lb cherries, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.
Vanilla Cherry Pastry Cream
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean seeds, cherry puree, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whisking, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until it has been incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
Add the butter, and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed until smooth (you can also whisk by hand).
85 grams of unsalted butter; chilled, cubed
85 grams of flour
40 grams of sugar
40 grams brown sugar
135 grams of walnuts
Combine flour and sugar in a food processor. Add butter cubes until cornmeal consistency. Add the almonds and pulse, but don't make it into almond flour, you want the chunks. Spread on a sheet pan and freeze for 20 minutes. Bake in a 425 degrees F oven for 5 minutes. Use tongs to move around the crumble and bake for additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool at least one hour before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the chilled dough to 1/4" thick. Cut a circle with a 2" overhang to fit your tart pan. Gently press into tart pan and remove excess from the top. Chill in freezer for 1 hour. Once chilled, remove from freezer and use a fork to make holes in the bottom of your tart. Blind bake for 9 minutes. Remove pie weights/filling and bake for an additional 6 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 2 hours.
Just before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream, then the macerated cherries. Top with the walnut crumble.