New Year’s eve 2012 = sugar overload. What better way to welcome the new year than to be on a high…and if you’re not big on suffering a hangover on New Year’s day, then I would recommend a sugar high from a dessert party. Our friends invited us to their place for a New Year’s eve party to bring in the new year and watch the fireworks, and all guests were asked to bring a dessert. Brilliant!
Obviously, I had to bring something with cherries in it (from our Tassie haul) and I was tossing up between a cherry pie, cherry tart or cherry cupcakes. Cherry frangipane tart won the toss up and I went in search for a reasonably fuss free recipe.
After setting aside enough fresh cherries to give to friends and for our own TV snacking, I still had about 3 kg left. These needed to be pitted before I could make the tart, and freeze for future use.
If you’ve tried pitting cherries using a knife, you would have found that it’s not an easy job and the cherries tend to get mushy from all the man-handling. I found the easiest way to pit cherries without one of those fancy schmancy cherry pitters is to use a paper clip.
Yup you read that right! What you see there is a bent out of shape paper clip. Just search on YouTube for videos on how to pit cherries using a paper clip – you’ll find quite a number out there. It’s easy and very effective.
So back to the tart – I love a good frangipane filling and was looking forward to encasing those sweet cherries in it. Frangipane is usually made from almonds but I have heard of other variations with walnuts and pistachios. Mmm the pistachio version sounds divine but I stuck to the classic almond frangipane this time.
The dessert party was fabulous – there were meringues, baklavas, chocolates, cheesecake slices, italian cookies, ice cream and of course fresh cherries and my cherry frangipane tart. Pity I didn’t have my camera on me to take the full spread of desserts, but a good friend did snap a few of the cherry frangipane tart while I was serving it up…thanks Kelvin!
What a sweet way to celebrate the passing of 2011 and the welcoming of a new one. Have a great 2012 everyone! January is almost over – let’s make the most out of the next 11 months!
CHERRY FRANGIPANE TART
Adapted from Joy of Baking
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (45 grams) almond meal (flour)
1 tablespoon (12 grams) all purpose flour
30 fresh pitted cherries
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
To make pastry:
1. Beat butter and sugar in your mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add beaten egg until just incorporated.
2. Sift flour and salt together, add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix until it comes together to form a dough. Turn it out on a dusted work bench, knead lightly just to bring the dough together. Flatten and form the dough into a disc, wrap with cling wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Have ready an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11 – 12 inch (28 – 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan.
4. When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan. Roll rolling pin over top again to get rid of any extra pastry. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten in the flour.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights, rice or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly golden brown. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack before filling.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
Frangipane and cherry filling:
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the almond meal and flour and beat until it forms a smooth paste. Fill the cooled tart pastry with the filling and spread it evenly.
2. Arrange the cherries in the frangipane filling. Bake for about 25 -35 minutes, or until the frangipane is puffed and light brown in color. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Best served with a dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream.