Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1AM Cherry Tart.

1AM Cherry Tart.

1AM. Bored, couldn't sleep. Had some leftover cherries in the refrigerator. (Just a few months left before my brother's wedding and I need to start building up those egg whites for the vats of buttercream frosting I need to make for the cake...) What is it about early morning that I love about being in the kitchen? Maybe it's the fact that no one is around, that I'm creating something while everyone else is asleep. I'm not sure, but I do know this tart came out very beautifully. I made the tart dough using my hands because I didn't want to turn on the food processor, but I'm sure that way is much easier. But perhaps a bit less satisfying.

These recipes are slightly based on the ones in Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From My Home to Yours" and if you want to do things the right way, you should probably follow her instructions instead. I am allergic to doing things the way they say in a cookbook, apparently.

Sweet tart dough:
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk

Stir together the flour, sugar and salt until combined evenly. Drop the butter on top and start pinching the pieces with your fingers until you have almost combined the butter with the dry ingredients... a few pieces looking like oatmeal, a few looking like peas. That's okay. Add the egg yolk and combine with your hands until a ball of dough forms. Press this into a lightly greased 9-inch tart pan and freeze it for about 20 minutes to a half hour. Or until the oven is done preheating to 375 degrees, like I did.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until dark golden brown around the outside and almost golden brown in the middle of the tart.

Pastry cream:
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces

Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt together until combined well. Drizzle in about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk to temper the yolks and whisk. Then add the rest of the milk slowly, and eventually add this mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and whisk frequently for about 1 minute until very thick. Add the vanilla and the butter a few pieces at a time until it's all melted and combined.

Scrape into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap on top and refrigerate until cold.

For the cherries (or any other berry you might want to use):
2 cups cherries, pitted, cut in half
A few tablespoons red currant jelly (you could use apricot too probably)

Melt the jelly in the microwave or whatever, and then stir in the fruit, and toss to make sure all the fruit is about evenly glazed with the jelly. This will make the fruit nice and shiny, and will also help it to keep a bit longer if you're refrigerating a while before serving.

To assemble the tart, take the tart shell out of the pan and place it on a serving platter or plate. Spoon in the pastry cream, spreading to the edges and mounding a bit in the middle if you have a lot like I did, and then pour the fruit on top, letting it fall naturally where it wants to. I think it looks prettier than being arranged. Dig in and enjoy the fruits of summer.

1AM Cherry Tart.


  1. I think you are absolutely right. 1am or anything after 10pm is the perfect time to bake. Everything is so quiet, and no one can bug you. Your tart is the perfect example of baking heaven. I've made both the pastry and dough from that book and they turned out great. That tart is simple and fresh.

  2. Wow, nice Cherry Tart. It looks wonderful. I can't imagine baking at 1:00AM I can bearly get baking right during the day.

    Sharona May