Help!! Cherry season only lasts 100 days in Australia! Yes, only 100 days during Spring and Summer (November through February)! Reading this fact on the internet made me scramble to buy my first Cherry Pitting gadget – that wonderful little thing that ‘pokes’ the cherry seed cleanly out of the fruit.
It’s great that cherry season in the southern hemisphere coincides with the Christmas season here, because cherries are made for Christmas – cherry tarts, pies and cakes, you name it!
In order to vent my lust for cherries (and to take advantage of the brief cherry growing season), I present my recipe for a White Chocolate Tart with Cherries in Red Wine Sauce.
Don’t let the fancy name throw you – the sauce is simply red wine and sugar heated together on the stove and then thickened with some corn flour. The filling is made with white chocolate blended with ricotta and mascarpone cheeses. Top with the cherries and red wine sauce and you’ve got yourself a delicious dessert!
Tips for making the pastry crust (see detailed recipe below) :
Use 6 individual tart pans (about 5 inches or 12 cm wide).
- Combine the flour, icing sugar and chilled butter cubes in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and water and process until the dough just comes together.
- Remove dough from the processor, form into a ball and knead on a floured surface for about 30 seconds. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Separate the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface, using a rolling pin dusted with flour. First, roll the pin forward and backwards on the dough, then turn the dough 1/4 and repeat. Keep on rolling and turning the dough 1/4 until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick.
- Transfer the dough onto the fluted tart tin so that the dough overhangs the edges.
- Roll the rolling pin across the top of the tart pan in order to cut through the dough.
- Lift the outer edges of the dough away from the tart pan.
- Prick the crust on the bottom of the tart pan with a fork – this helps to keep the tart bottom from rising during the baking.
- Prepare to Blind Bake the dough before adding the filling: line each tart pan with parchment paper, ensuring the paper sticks up well above the edge of the pan. Fill the pan with ‘pie weights’ covering the dough all the way up around the edges. This helps to keep the crust edges from ‘shrinking’ down into the tart pan and the crust bottom from puffing up during baking.
- Note: pie weights are marble-like balls that you can buy at specialty stores. Alternatively, you can fill the tart pan with raw rice.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pie weights and parchment paper and bake for a further 5 minutes until the crust is golden = 20 minutes total baking time.
- 2 cups (300 g) plain flour
- ¼ cup (45 g) icing sugar
- 10 tbsp (150 g) chilled butter- chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tbsp water
- ½ cup (100 g) caster sugar
- ½ cup red wine (1/2 cups)
- 2 tbsp. corn flour mixed with 2 tbsp. water
- 2 cups (450 g) pitted cherries
- 1 ½ cups (260 g) white chocolate
- ¾ cup (200 g) ricotta cheese
- 1 cup (250 g) mascarpone
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C).
- Prepare the tart dough from the instructions above. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
- While the dough is baking, prepare the cherry sauce. Heat the wine and sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the corn flour and water together to make a paste, then add this mixture to the wine/sugar mixture to thicken.
- Add the pitted cherries to the pan and simmer for several minutes until the cherries soften. Set aside.
- Prepare the tart filling: melt the white chocolate in the microwave or alternatively melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Add the ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese to the melted chocolate and mix until smooth using a electric mixer (or blender).
- Divide the filling equally between the 6 pastry cases and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Top with the cherries and sauce and serve.