Cherries are in season at the moment and Nisha is finding out all sorts of delicious ways to use them. She’s chosen pretty, fresh and summery cherry clafoutis tartlets to share with us.
Just the other day I was at a farmers market and stumbled upon some gorgeous cherries. I tasted a few and they were the sweetest and juiciest I’d tried so far this season. I bought a pack and resisting the urge to eat them, I made my way home, all the while brainstorming on what to make with them…something summery, something fresh. Tarts! it had to be tarts! but with a twist.
Eric Lanlard’s cherry clafoutis tarts came to my rescue and they were a good choice. The tarts are pretty easy to make and you can prepare the base and filling a day or two ahead and put them together just before serving. This makes them perfect for those summer parties where you are busy with a 101 other things. I like them chilled, but feel free to devour them right out of the oven, still warm and gooey.
Cherry clafoutis tartlets (makes 6 to 8)
For the tart base (short crust pastry)
170 gms plain flour
A pinch of salt
100 gms cold, unsalted butter sliced into cubes
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp ice cold water
Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the butter till the mix resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Add the sugar and mix thoroughly, followed by egg yolk and water.
Mix it all together using your hands, to form a firm dough. You may need a wee bit more water, but remember, a crumbly dough, although difficult to handle, will result in a shorter, lighter pastry as opposed to damp dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 15 to 20 minutes. At this point you can even freeze the pastry for later use. But make sure you bring it back to room temperature before rolling it out.
In the mean time, lightly grease your tart pans with butter and arrange them on a baking tray.
After the dough has been chilled long enough, lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll the pastry into a circle. This may be a bit difficult, especially if you challenged like me when it comes to rolling out dough of any kind. You can either roll out a big round and then cute individual circles to fit your tart pan, or divide the dough into smaller balls and roll them out to fit the individual tins. I found the latter much more easier.
Carefully place the pastry into the case and trim off the edges. Pierce the pastry at random places with a fork. Pre heat the oven to 200C and blind bake the pastry shells for about 15 minutes. (Blind bake by placing an aluminium foil on top of the pastry and filling with baking beans, dried rice or dried beans so that the pastry doesn’t puff up)
Once done, remove the baking beans from the tart and keep aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
For the filling
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
4 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 ml double cream
150 gms stoned cherries, halved
Icing sugar to dust (optional)
Break the egg and egg yolks into a heat proof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Add the sugar and whisk continuously till the mix turns light and fluffy. This may take about 6 to 7 minutes depending on how vigorously you whisk. Keep aside.
Into a saucepan pour in the double cream and vanilla and heat gently. Take it off the flame and slowly add the egg mix, while simultaneously whisking the mix. If you find the egg has cooked a bit, don’t panic, just strain through a sieve into a measuring cup.
Arrange the cherries at random in the pre cooked pastry cases and fill with the custard. Bake in a pre heated oven at 150C for 20 minutes or until the tart is set and golden and a tooth pick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool the tarts in their cases for about 10 minutes, after which you can carefully remove the tarts and chill in the fridge till ready to serve.
Just before serving dust some icing sugar on top.
Notes: You can of course use store bought short crust pastry for the base, or pre-made tart shells. This would make the job much easier.
Make the filling while the tarts are blind baking and you can finish off the whole process much quicker. Or if you don’t want to do it all on the same day, make the tart shells a day or two before and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
These tarts are not that sweet, so if you want them sweeter, serve with some stewed cherries or even ice cream.
For more delicious cherry recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.