Don't let cherry season pass you by. I seemed to always be making this for my favorite American holiday, 4th of July. Then I knew it was really summer. Hope you enjoy it too.
Rustic Sour Cherry Tart
Oven preheated to 200*C or 400 *F after the chilling of the dough
200g (7.5 oz or generous 1 1/2 c) all purpose flour, measured onto a clean dry, work surface
generous pinch salt, added to the flour
150g (10T) butter, unsalted, cold, cut up into small pieces, keep cold
6 T cold or ice water, it might be a little less, you need to judge by adding a little at a time
2T coarse sugar, I like brown demerara, but anything will work
1 kg (generous 2 lbs) sour cherries, pitted** I use mine whole.
50g or so (1/4 c) sugar, I like to use a coarse grain brown sugar or unrefined white sugar
Grated orange or lemon peel from 1/2 fruit
Squeeze of the citrus juice or 1 T amaretto or small amount of almond extract
The method for making this pastry is called friasage in French and is done to make the dough a bit sturdier to keep the fruit juice from leaking out and for the dough to hold its shape. You don't lose the flakiness of the dough, if you work quickly and don't handle it too much.
This can be made in a food processor, quickly cutting the butter in by pulsing the processor before adding the water.
Since I don't have one, I just use the old fashion method.
You can use a pastry cutter ( or a large fork if you have one) and gingerly cut the small butter pieces into the flour and salt mix.
Or you can cut your butter very small, working quickly to keep the butter cold.
Add to the flour and lightly mix the butter pieces and flour. Quickly rub the larger butter pieces between your thumb and finger into the flour till you have a crumbly mix that is somewhat consistently pea sized.
Drizzle about half of your cold water around the flour mix and quickly gather the pieces into a mass resemble a rough dough. If you find it is just too dry to bring it together sprinkle the rest of the water in the areas that are dry and work quickly to bring the dough into a shaggy rectangular mass.
With a bench scraper or the heel of your hands smear the butter and flour across the surface of the table int a rectangular shape. Then gather the dough together with your hands or scraper from the sides toward the center and repeat a couple of times till the dough holds together and takes shape. Work quickly and lightly, handling as little as possible for best results. Place your flatten dough disc in a bag or covered bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
Mix all of your filling ingredients and set as your dough is relaxing in the refrigerator.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place on your dry lightly floured work surface.
Roll out your dough into a disk about 3 coins high not worrying about the rough edges of the dough. That gives you a nice rustic look to your tart. Just try to keep it in a fairly round shape as you roll out. I roll and turn the dough about a quarter of a turn in a circular fashion for keeping it even. I always roll my dough in all directions for strengthening the dough but without adding toughness.
Roll disc out to about 30cm or 12" taking care to either roll out on a sheet of oven paper or cling film, and loosen and lightly flour a few times to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface.
Place the dough disc on a flat baking tray that has been lined with oven paper or a silicone sheet.
Pour your fruit into the middle of the dough leave a couple of inches free from fruit.
Lightly wash the top of the tart dough with water or milk and generously sprinkle with 2 generous tablespoons of coarse or regular sugar.
Sometimes I stick the tart in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so if it seems that the dough has softened too much and might benefit from a bit of chilling to help it keep its shape, but not entirely necessary.
The rolling of your dough, as well as the smearing and gathering of this dough, is about finesse and not brute strength. It comes with time and practice. A good excuse to make this tart a few times, like I have been doing over the past few weeks.
This can be made into individual mini tarts as well. A bit fiddly, but worth the effort. I usually make about 6 of them and 8 if I'm feeling patient. The smaller they are, the more difficult to work with.