Cherries are in season at my local supermarket. I know that cherries grow in the summer. I know I should really only buy local, seasonal produce. I also know that since it’s winter here, cherries cannot possibly be local and in season. But I swear they’re in season right now! Otherwise why would they be so plentiful and cheap and gorgeous?
Hmph. Even wikipedia says, and I quote, “Cherries have a very short growing season and can grow in most temperate latitudes. The peak season for cherries is in the summer. In Australia they are usually at their peak around Christmas time…” Sooo I guess not. But this does mean that all of you northerner hemispherers should be able to get cherries – seasonal cherries – right now. As if you needed an excuse, behold:
Looking to use up some eggs (our house guest actually asked me today if I had chickens), and the cherry bowl overflowing, I worked up a quick crust – which was only ok, so feel free to substitute your own if you want – and then filled it with a sugar-egg mixture spotted with pitted cherries. Though I was nervous I was burning the crust (I melted the butter because we don’t have a microwave and I don’t know about you, but I’m not patient enough to wait for butter to “soften”), it turned out really beautifully and surprinsly light. Which is one of the reasons everyone – even the house guest – had seconds.
The most sexual sounding tart I’ve baked in a long time … and, achem, maybe the most satisfying. Serves 10 – 12 and takes about 30 minutes plus 40 minutes baking time. And, I’m fairly confident that most kinds of fruit, from apples to plums, would be great in this.
1 stick (8 tbl/125 grams) butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup (150 grams) flour
1/3 cup (50 grams) whole wheat flour (or substitute plain)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
20 – 30 cherries, pitted and halved*
1 cup (210 grams) sugar (or a bit less)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Grease a pie plate.
To make the crust, use a hand held mixer to cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed. Add the egg yolk, and mix well. In a separate, larger bowl, mix the flours, cinnamon and salt. Then add the butter mixture to the flours, stirring with a spoon until completely combined. You may want to use your hands to knead it until it’s completely smooth. Pat the dough into the bottom of the greased pie plate, making it evenly spread along the bottom and sides. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.
Beat the eggs, sugar and almond extract (if using) together in a bowl, and pour the mixture on top of the cherries.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Don’t worry if your tart deflates a little when it comes out of the oven, it will still be so good you’ll want seconds.