Friday, July 3, 2015

Cherry Almond Sablé Tart

Yes, indeed - it’s the time of year to grab your cherry pitter tool, put on your red shirt and pit a pile of cherries.  It’s a bit of a tedious task but the benefits make it so worthwhile.  This year’s crop of cherries is super sumptuous, so I say march onward to the kitchen to produce your favorite cherry pastries.

This cherry tart is a simply delicious way to enjoy cherries right now.  It starts with an Almond Sablé pastry dough.  The texture is crisp and crumbly like a sablé cookie and, as we all know, almonds are a great dining partner with cherries.  This tart crust is subtly sweet with a pinch of lemon zest for an additional note of flavor.  The dough is made in a food processor so it comes together in no time.  Then it gets pressed into a tart pan so it’s completely no stress.  The cherries are simmered with vanilla bean and a pinch of cinnamon to achieve their full flavor.  Little pastry cutouts decorate the top.

The tart is baked in just about half an hour.  However, it does have to cool completely before serving so all the elements can set up properly.  But I do guarantee you, it’s well worth the wait.  

Bench notes:
- I like to use sliced almonds for pastry doughs because they will grind to a finer crumb.
- You can substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract for the vanilla bean in the cherry mixture.  Add it after you take it off the heat along with the lemon juice.
- “Docking” is the process of pricking pastry dough before baking to create tiny holes that allow steam to escape.  This helps to prevent puffed up bubbles in your tart dough.
- Freezing the formed tart shell for one hour helps to prevent shrinkage.
- Bake the tart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat to catch any juices that might bubble up.
- Any remaining pastry cutouts can be baked off as cookies.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  Bake them until the edges just begin to brown, about 9 minutes.
- You can also make this in a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Once you remove the vanilla bean from the cherry mixture, rinse it off and let it dry.  Store in a jar of sugar.  The flavor is so pungent, I always recycle and reuse vanilla beans!
- More cherry goodness: Cherry Crumb Bars and Lemon Cherry Pudding Cakes.

Cherry Almond Sablé Tart
Serves 6 - 8

Almond Sablé Dough
2 cups (10 oz) flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) sliced almonds
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 small lemon
7 oz (14 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter                              
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cherry Filling
1 1/2 lbs fresh Bing cherries, pitted
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons (13 grams) cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

To prepare the pastry dough, place the flour, sliced almonds, sugar, salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Cut the cold butter into 1/2” pieces and add.  Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Add the yolks and almond extract.  Process until the dough begins to form clumps and holds together when pinched.  

Set aside about 2 cups (loosely filled) of the dough clumps.  Press the remaining clumps evenly and smoothly into the bottom and sides of the tart pan, making sure you have an even distribution of dough.  Trim any excess from the top of the border.  Prick the bottom several times with a fork.  Freeze the formed tart shell for one hour.

Place the remaining dough clumps on a sheet of plastic wrap and press them together to form a flat disc.  Put another sheet of plastic wrap on top and roll out to about 1/8” thickness.  Slide onto a baking sheet and chill.

To prepare the cherry filling, place the pitted cherries, sugar and vanilla bean in a pan over medium low heat.  Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, stirring to prevent scorching until the juices flow.  Continue to simmer until the cherries begin to soften, about another 4 - 5 minutes. 

Stir the cornstarch and cold water together until there are no lumps.  Add while stirring the cherries continuously.  Cook for another 2 minutes until the juices thicken.  Take off the heat and add the lemon juice.  Remove the vanilla bean, pour into a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 14” x 4” rectangular tart pan with removable bottom.

Put the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat and bake for 15 minutes.  Place on a wire rack. 

Remove the sheet of dough from the refrigerator and peel off the plastic wrap.  Cut out several shapes for the top decoration.

Fill the tart shell with the cooled cherry mixture, draining off any excess juices.  Position the pastry dough cutouts on top.  

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 35 – 38 minutes.  Place on a wire rack and cool for at least 2 hours to allow the tart to set up properly.  Gently remove from the tart pan.


Kate said...

Oh why, why, why aren't I your neighbor?
Too bad I'm on the other side of the country.
Upstate New York is too far away to be a taste tester isn't it?
Obviously, you have me swooning.

pastry studio said...

Inorite? DRATZ! You'd be a great tester for me, Kate. Consider California, STAT.

Lauri said...

I just found your blog. Now I have to cook everything on it.

pastry studio said...

Hey Lauri, just proceed like I do - one week at a time. Heh.