It's cherry season again! This Memorial Day Weekend we found plenty of sweet ripe cherries at a u-pick farm in Brentwood. It's painful to waste a cherry by cooking it, but this is the one exception I believe it. The cherries are baked in a simple sweet custard. This is easy, delicious, quick, and very difficult to mess up. Perfect for me!
I tried it with peeled, pitted slices of peach too. Delicious. I substituted the flour for tapioca flour and rice flour. Great! I ran out of milk and substituted an unknown quantity of whipping cream and water. Just fine. I don't own kirsch, so I've never used it, but triple sec worked fine and so did vanilla. I reduced the sugar by half. And that's why this is virtually unbreakable. I'm including the original recipe with my variations in parentheses. This was adapted from Provence the Beautiful Cookbook.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound stemmed cherries, not pitted (unless you want the extra work)
1/2 cup sugar (my cherries were so ripe I only used 1/4 cup)
small pinch salt
1/2 cup flour (or 1/3 cup tapioca flour, or 1/2 cup rice flour)
1 cup milk
1/4 kirsch (I used 3 Tablespoons of Triple Sec or vanilla)
confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 9 or 10 inch baking dish with a tablespoon of butter. Put the washed cherries in one layer in the bottom of the baking dish. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, salt, flour, milk, and kirsch. Pour the egg mixture over the cherries, and dot the top with a little butter. Put it in the oven and start checking after twenty minutes. (The outside edges will cook first, sometimes puffing up to improbable proportions, but it will fall down again.) Once the middle looks set but not dry, take it from the oven. Sprinkle with a little confectioners sugar if you like and serve it when it's lukewarm. Any sooner and the cherries will be like molten lava.
If you were worried that eating all of that light, sweet summer produce was going to result in unwanted weight loss, don't worry. I have the answer to that: the fresh fruit tart. Loaded with fat and sugar, you are guaranteed to keep those fabulous curves.
I started making this when I was pregnant with my first child. Pitting one pound of cherries by hand was the most onerous part, and I asked my husband to help. A few minutes later I found him, cherry juice dripping down his chin, looking like he had participated in some kind of sick vampiric feast. No, it was worse than that. He was pitting them in his mouth, spitting the seeds into the sink and the cherries into the bowl. And this is why we privately refer to this as the Regurgi-Cherry Tart.
A cherry pitter is only about $15 and is more than worth the investment.
The idea is very simple. A graham cracker crust layered with a sweetened whipped cream/cream cheese mixture, and lots of fresh fruit. The best pan for this is a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom, but mine rusted out long ago and so I used a pie dish instead. The original recipe was from Food magazine at least eight years ago.
9 graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar, and then another 2 tablespoons for the cream mixture
6 tablespoons melted butter
6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup whipping cream
at least one pound of fresh fruit (strawberries, cherries, mangoes, or kiwi), washed and sliced however you like
Directions for the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham crackers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs. Add in the butter and pulse to combine. Pour it into a tart dish or a pie plate and press down to firm the crumbs into a crust. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes until the crust just starts to brown. Allow the crust to cool.
Directions for the cream:
Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese. Then add the cream and sugar and beat again until soft peaks form. Spread it over your crust and top with fresh fruit.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!