Friday, July 6, 2012

Cherry Picked

I hope everyone had a fun 4th of July.  I woke up to full on rain - the streets were wet and everything!  This was sort of ironic since I moved from a temperate rainforest where it rains 155 days a year to "The Valley of the Sun".  However, despite the fact that if I had been in Portland, I would have complained about the rain, this was a welcome sight.  The morning rain seemed to significantly cool the temperatures.  It stayed under 100 degrees all day.  We were comfortably able to sit outside while we barbequed in the evening, and even eat outside without bursting into flames!  It was wonderful.

To celebrate our nation's independence, I decided the to make a cherry tart.  Cherries are in season right now, and we picked up some gorgeous ones the other day.  When I saw this recipe on pinterest, I knew I had to make it!

Fresh Cherry Tart (slightly adapted from Everyday Food)

9 Graham crackers
3 Tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 oz bar cream cheese, room temperature ( I used Neufchâtel
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1 Tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

  First, I had to pit all of those cherries  It's has been years since I've pitted cherries, and of course I don't own a cherry-pitter - I agree with Alton Brown that unitaskers are generally silly kitchen gadgets to have.  I found this video on YouTube that demonstrates how to pit cherries using a chopstick.  It's pretty easy, and made quick work of those cherries.  After pitting, cut them in half. 

This tart doesn't require much cooking, which is great in this heat.  You do have to turn on your oven to bake the crust - but it only takes 15 minutes and then you can turn it off.   After you turn on your oven to 350 so it can preheat, you can assemble your crust:

  In your food processor grind 9 graham crackers (which is one sleeve if you buy the Honey Maid brand) and 2 tablespoons of sugar until finely ground.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter, and add to the graham cracker crumbs until it reaches your desired consistency - the recipe calls for 6 tablespoons, but I thought it might be a little too much butter.  Far be it from me to question Martha, but next time I will add it more gradually, and I have a feeling 5 tablespoons might be better.  Use your best judgment.

 Pour your graham cracker mixture into a tart pan - the kind with the removable bottom if you have it.  Yes, I have a tart pan that I bought 10 years ago for another Martha recipe, I knew I would use it again!  Press it into the bottom and sides of the pan.  It helps to use a flat bottomed measuring cup to push it against the sides.

 Now bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  While it's baking you can pit your cherries.  When the crust is done, cool it on a wire rack.  It needs to be completely cool before you fill it.

To make the filling, whip 8 oz of cream cheese with half a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Gradually add 3/4 cup of heavy cream, whip until it forms soft peaks.  Pour it into your crust and spread to make it even.

 Arrange cherries on top.  To make the glaze, place 1 tablespoon of seedless raspberry jam and one teaspoon of water in a microwave save cup, and heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Stir to combine.  Brush the glaze over the cherries. 

Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

We have been enjoying this tart for the last two days - it is a nice cool treat, and not super heavy.  Perfect for the hot summer weather everyone (except Oregon and Washington) is having!
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Kelcey said...

Looks delish! Must say though that I have a cherry stoner that I adore and comes in MIGHTY handy during pie cherry season, and beyond, wherin I simply must have my sour cherries 4 the freezer. Well worth having around.

NW Girl said...

Alright, Kelcey, you just might have convinced me. I'm not TOTALLY against unitaskers... I mean, I love my garlic press.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I just pitted a gigantic crate of cherries by hand the week before! It took me 3 hours!! I tried to use the pitting tool, but decided not to because it kept missing the pits! Piece of crap. I just sliced them by hand, it was much faster.

Love, Amber

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