What’s the difference between a pie and a tart? This is something I often get confused about.
Well, in my mind, a tart is a pie with no top! A tart can stand alone held up only by it’s pasty, whereas pies can be in a bowl with pastry on top. Get what I’m saying?
Also, I usually associate tarts with sweet shortcrust filled with something sweet, like fruit – I don’t often associate tarts with savoury fillings, I call those quiches!
Which brings me round to this wonderful summery dessert pie, no, tart! It’s definitely a tart, or it should be, with this super buttery melt-in-the-mouth pastry and sweet cherry frangipane. I would call this recipe moderate to easy, except I find the pastry a challenge to deal with (especially in the Australian summer).
Apologies for the not so camera-worthy image of the tart; I made the mistake this time of removing the pastry tart from its metal tart case before re-baking with the frangipane, and it sort-of collapsed in the oven!
You could make this with store-bought sweet shortcrust pastry, but it wouldn’t be as special.
Cherry frangipane tart
This shortcrust pastry recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners book. It’s a very versatile case for sweet tarts. I always use lemon rind, it brings out a special flavour and I also use pastry flour, rather than regular plain flour. This recipe makes a very short crust and the dough is hard to work with. But the end product is a delicate, light and buttery crust. Pastry flour is lower in gluten and is superior to plain flour when making shortcrust pastry and buttery cookies. It is reasonably easy to find in well-stocked supermarkets these days.
- 125 g unsalted butter at room temp
- 100 g icing sugar
- 255 g pastry flour (plain flour is fine)
- pinch of salt
- zest of ½ lemon
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons (Tb) iced water
- Using a food processor, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add flour and salt, egg yolks and lemon zest and continue to blend.
- When the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, add water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Remove from food processor and form it into a ball on cling film or baking paper. It will be very soft. Try not to add more flour or it will become hard and flakey.
- Gently roll into a log, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or until needed – can be frozen and allowed to thaw in fridge for several hours).
- Roll out to fit a 23 cm loose-bottomed flan case (reserve about ¼ of the pastry for the lattice top). Refrigerate again for 60 minutes at least.
When ready to bake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
- Remove tart case from fridge and cover with baking paper and weights (I use dry rice) to ‘blind bake’.
- Bake for ten minutes, then remove baking paper from tart case and bake for a further five to ten minutes until the crust is crisp and starting to turn golden.
- Remove from oven to cool and do NOT remove from flan case!
- 500g cherries, pitted
- 110 g caster sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- Place cherries in non-reactive pot, add sugar and lemon juice, bring to boil, turn heat down, cover, then simmer until cherries have given up most of their juice (about ten to 15 minutes).
- Use the back of a spoon to crush them from time to time. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- With the lid off, bring remaining juice to the boil and allow to reduce to a thick syrup. This takes only a minute or two – watch this! It can dry out very quickly in the end.
- 90g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 90 g caster sugar
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 3 TB plain flour
- 110 g almond meal
- pinch of salt
- 100 g icing sugar mixed to a paste with 1-2 Tb reserved cherry syrup
- Turn oven to 180°C (160°C – fan forced)
- Using a food processor, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
- Add egg and egg yolk while continuing to process.
- Add flour, almond meal and salt and mix to combine.
- Layer about half of the mixture over base of pastry crust
- Spread cherries evenly over the top
- Dob the remainder of the frangipane mixture over the cherries, doing your best to cover them (a few gaps are fine and result in a nice rustic-looking pie).
- Make a lattice with remaining pastry and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and brush liberally with the icing sugar/cherry syrup paste.
- Return to oven for a further five to ten minutes to caramelise and brown-up on the surface.
- Allow to cool before removing tart from its flan case.
Serve at room temperature or warmed, with thickened cream or ice cream.