Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweet Cherry Tart with Port

Sweet Cherry Tart with Port
Late summer in BC is cherry season! The fruit is so abundant, it seems like the sweet, plump cherries are available everywhere you turn. The addition of a mellow port to this sweet cherry tart elevate it beyond simple cherry pie to something elegant and special.

For me, making this recipe was a lesson in doing everything wrong! The one rule my Mom repeated to me was, "always read through the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients before you start!" 

I didn't. 

I jumped in head first, only going to the cupboard to get an ingredient as I went along. I soon discovered that I was missing some key elements. The most important one? The tart pan. That's right people, I was half-way through making a TART without even remembering that I don't own a tart pan. Genius. Oh well, soldier on Sgt. Lulu and use what you've got. In this case it was a spring form pan. It worked, but my tart lacks the pretty fluted edges you get from a real tart pan. 

Next, I grabbed my bottle of precious D'oro fortified walnut wine from Vista D'oro, only to find there was only half the amount that I needed! I threw my hands into the air. "Now what!?" I huffed. Then I remembered I had vodka, so I used that to stretch the port. Not the ideal solution, but good enough.
Eventually a delicious tart emerged. Just barely. 

The lesson? Always Read The Entire Recipe! Someone embroider that on a sampler. 

Taste so good make a grown man cry
Sweet Cherry Tart with Port 
Based on a recipe by Mark Bittman
Equipment required: 9" tart pan with removable bottom, rolling pin, parchment paper; equipment that makes it easier but is not necessary: food processor, cherry pitter.

Tart Crust Ingredients
Makes enough crust for a 9" tart pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice water

Method
  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter, pulse just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and pulse until just combined. Add water and pulse until just combined. 
  2. Pour mixture out onto a floured board. Gather together into a loose ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for about an hour until firm. 
  3. Preheat oven to 425° F. When the dough is chilled, roll crust out on a floured board until crust is a few inches larger than the tart pan. Line tart pan with a circle of parchment paper. Gently press crust into pan, filling all the flutes of the edge. Use a knife to cleanly cut off excess crust. 
  4. Line tart with parchment paper or aluminum foil and weigh it down with raw beans, rice or pastry weights. Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Remove parchment paper with weights. While tart is baking, prepare Sweet Cherry Filling. 
  5. Lower oven temperature to 350° F. Fill crust with Sweet Cherry Filling with Port, place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 hours (see step 3 below).
Sweet Cherry Filling with Port Ingredients
5 cups halved and pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup port* 
*I used D'oro fortified walnut wine from Vista D'oro. Well to be honest, I actually used 1/3 cup D'oro plus 1/3 cup vodka.

Method
  1. In a large bowl, gently combine cherries, sugar and port. Cover and let sit on the counter for about an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator. 
  2. Drain off liquid from cherries into a small saucepan and pour cherry mixture into the pre-baked tart crust. 
  3. Place filled tart pan on a baking sheet and return to the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, or until fruit is soft and juices are thickened. 
  4. While tart is baking, reduce the drained off juices in a saucepan until thickened, and set aside. 
  5. When tart has been in the oven for about an hour, pour the reduced juices over the filling and return the tart to the oven. 
  6. When done, thoroughly chill tart to firm the filling. Serve with whipped cream, or crème fraîche flavoured with liqueur, or Vanilla Ice Cream.

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