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What are the Best Tips for Baking a Cherry Tart?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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A cherry tart is a relatively easy baked desert. There are countless recipes for this open-top pie, but the process for baking the cherry tart is typically the same in each. The best tips for baking this classic dessert include baking the tart twice, pricking the bottom of the tart to make sure it doesn’t puff up, using some sort of cream filling, and using fresh, pitted cherries. For presentation purposes, as well as to enhance the flavor of the cherry tart, it’s common for bakers to glaze the cherries and lightly sprinkle sugar over the top.

A cherry tart is actually baked twice, first without the filling and then with it. The cream and cherries, if baked in a raw shell, will typically burn before the shell is finished cooking. Therefore the shell, which is usually made of puff pastry dough, is baked until it is golden brown prior to the tart being filled. This is done by a process known as blind-baking, which involves weighing down the bottom of the shell with beans or some other heavy item so that the bottom does not puff up. Even if making the tart with a graham cracker crust, baking before filling is usually recommended.

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Once the shell finishes its first round in the oven, it is then cooled and the bottom is pricked several times with a fork or toothpick to ensure the shell does not puff up once. Doing this is one of the most important aspects of baking a tart. Pastry dough, especially puff pastry, can still rise slightly when it returns to the oven even if it is fully cooked. This rising can produce an uneven tart.

After the bottom of the cherry tart is pricked, it is then filled in two layers. The first is a layer of cream. Cherries are then placed evenly over the top of the cream. The cream is essential in making a cherry tart because this is what rises around the cherries to form a somewhat flat surface. While canned or frozen cherries may work in a pinch, fresh sweet cherries are typically preferred. It is important, however, to pit the cherries before using them, even if the bag claims they have already been pitted. One stray cherry pit can ruin a cherry tart.

Once the tart has completed its second baking, brushing each individual cherry with a glaze will not only enhance the tart’s flavor, but also visually bring the cherries to life. Some bakers also prefer to lightly dust the tart with sugar immediately after it comes out of the oven. This step doesn’t add too much extra sweetness, although it can make the tart that much prettier.

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bluedolphin
Post 3

@ddljohn-- Why don't you try putting in the cherries first with the crust?

I'm not an expert on tart but I have a great cherry tart recipe and it calls for the cherries on the bottom and the custard on top. So what happens is that after placing the dough in the pan, I pour the cherries over it and then put it in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. The weight of the cherries prevent the crust from rising up. The tart is pulled out when the time is up and the custard is poured on top. It's cooked for another 25 minutes after this.

I recommend this recipe, my tart turns out quite good. If you still have a hard time with the crust, you can always switch to a graham cracker crust. It will still be good.

ddljohn
Post 2

I've been trying to make a perfect cherry tart but I never seem to get the crust right. I'm using puff pastry dough and I do weigh it down with beans before baking, but it still rises. I prick it before adding the custard too, but I can't get an even crust. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong and I don't know why it's so hard to make a cherry tart!

I have lots of fresh cherries, so I will definitely be making another tart this week and I want to get it right. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

SarahGen
Post 1
Cherry tarts are amazing, and the best cherries to use for them is Morello cherries, which are a type of sour cherry. I think sour cherries work better in cherry pies, tarts and cobbler because the flavor is richer and more sophisticated than sweet cherries. There is tartness as well as sweetness.

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