If you asked me my favorite fruit in April, July, or September, the answers would all be very different, but this time of year I can’t get enough fresh cherries. They have such a wonderful sweetness to them, that tastes fresh and not cloying, yet still satisfies my persistent sweet tooth. Their flesh is firm and satisfying to bite into, and their deep red color is stunning, if also quick to stain. I’ve been buying enormous bags nearly every week, mostly devouring them straight out of the bag, but also incorporating them into baked goods. One night I was craving something carb-loaded and sweet, so this tart came to be, and it totally hit the spot.
This tart is a very traditional summer crostata. The crust has sugar in it – making it a completely different beast than regular pie crust – and I added some whole wheat flour for a bit of a more earthy flavor (and a small kick of nutrients). In case you didn’t know, earthy flavor and cherries go so wonderfully together. Perfect combo!
Just like other crostatas, this tart is super easy to assemble, bakes up fast and pretty, and you can eat it right out of the oven (or after it cools, if you’re a patient soul; and if you are, I’m envious).
While no pie or tart is particularly “light,” this dessert feels like it is. It’s the perfect summer dessert, because it doesn’t weigh you down, and it has such a homey, comforting feel to it. I thoroughly enjoyed each night of this indulgence, and was sad to see it go.
If you’re looking for something to do with your extra cherries, I would absolutely suggest giving this a try. If you’ve got other fruit hanging around, you could try that as well! But I find the cherries are just such a pleasure to eat, they don’t break down like other fruits when you bake them, so their texture stays relatively firm. They release wonderfully sweet and rich juices, which soaks pleasingly into the sweet crust. So. GOOD!
Rustic Cherry Tart
adapted from Kitchen Simplicity
For the Pastry Dough: Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, quickly incorporate the butter, working it into the flour mixture, until the butter is roughly the size of peas. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing together with a fork, until the dough sticks together to form a ball. (The amount of water needed will depend on the humidity. Use as much as you need, just avoid letting it get too sticky!) Roll the dough out between two lightly floured piece of parchment paper, into a 14 inch circle. Transfer the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet, then remove the top layer of parchment.
For the filling: Mix together the filling ingredients until cherries are evenly coated. Pour onto the centre of the tart and spread out to within 2 inches of the edge. Fold up the edges to keep the filling in the middle, then brush the crust with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. If you have sanding sugar (as I used), you’ll get a wonderful, pearly effect.
Bake at 375ºF for 1 hour, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but let it come up to room temperature before serving.