December is cherry season in Australia and with our Cherry Food Appreciation Weekend just around the corner next weekend, I thought I would share a simple recipe for a cherry tart, that tastes wonderful and is easy to make. Perfect as an afternoon treat or as an evening dessert.
Cherry Custard Tart
1 cup plain flour
100 grams cold butter, chopped
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons water (if needed)
1 cup milk
100 ml thickened cream
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300 grams fresh cherries (pitted)
1. Place flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor and blitz until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the egg and blitz again until the dough just comes together, if needed add a little water.
2. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth and well combined, then wrap in plastic film and place in fridge for 30 minutes until child and firm.
3. Prepare custard by placing all custard items (other than the cherries) in a bowl and whisk until well combined (see below). Place mixture into a pot and heat over a moderate temperate (stirring continuously) until the mixture thickens. Set aside until ready to pour into tart casing.
4. Remove pastry from fridge and pre-heat oven to 200° C. Roll out pastry between two sheets of baking paper to prevent sticking, until slightly larger than 24 cm flan tin. Line the flan case with the pastry and cut away any excess. Return to fridge and allow to firm once more (approximately 15 minutes)
5. Line the pastry case with some baking paper and weigh down with cooking beans or rice and blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the cooking beans/rice and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes until lightly golden.
6. Scatter cherries over the surface of the case and then gentle pour the custard in and around the cherries. You may have to whisk the custard a little before pouring if it has formed a skin.
7. Turn down oven to 160° C and bake the tart for 30 minutes or until the custard appears firm in the centre.
8. Allow to cool and then place in refrigerator to chill. Cut and serve with a dusting of icing sugar.
The custard in this tart is soft and light to contrast with the firm sweet cherries. If you prefer a firm custard, add 1 tablespoon of cornflour to the custard ingredients when heating and thickening the custard mixture.
Further, feel free to experiment. This style of Clafouti tart is often made with other summer fruit in France. They all taste sensational with the baked custard cream of the tart.