The cherries are here! A bit delayed maybe, but because of the late spring, the trees have really come good, – abundant with fat, ripe, juicy, delicious red balls of yumminess.
I always wait for the cherry season with great anticipation. The opportunity to gorge on a pile of freshly picked cherries bought straight from the orchard fills me with excitement. They are one of my favourite fruits and where I live, there are orchards down every lane, so when the season arrives, you are spoilt for choice.
This weekend, we even went to our local cherry festival at Brogdale, which houses the UK’s national fruit collection. Apparently they grow more than 320 varieties of cherry and dedicate a weekend every year to celebrating their existence, diversity and abundance.
There are cherry tastings, cherry pie eating competitions, chocolate cherries, cherry preserves, cherry ice creams, cherry ciders and even an opportunity to try and break the world record for spitting a cherry pip the farthest!
Whilst I would happily sit and wade through bags of unadulterated cherries, it is always good to find more creative ways to eat them. So I have been busy planning a whole array of dishes to make.
This year I also bought a cherry pitter. – A nifty little gadget which shoots the stone out of the cherry, whilst leaving the fruit round and more or less intact. Not only is it simple to use, but also great fun. My daughter happily de-stoned a couple of pounds of them in about 20 minutes!
I did consider getting one with a splatter guard as I had heard the kitchen would look like a massacre had taken place once the job was done………….. I decided not to bother however and took my chances by shooting the stones into a deep plastic jug, making sure the mechanism was pointed well down before pulling the trigger and there was no mess whatsoever. Relief! The thought of an appointment with CSI did not appeal.
This weekend, I used those freshly bought cherries to make a cherry frangipane tart. The combination of cherry and almond is always delicious and held in a crisp, sweet pastry, the frangipane-cherry filling makes a delightful dessert which can be eaten on its own warm or cold or served with cream, custard or ice cream. It looks really pretty too, especially when sprinkled with icing sugar……………
Cherry Frangipane Tart
1 batch of sweet rice and almond shortcrust pastry made from the recipe in this post
110g unsalted butter – room temperature
110g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
110g ground almonds
45g gluten free flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
500g fresh cherries – washed and pitted
icing sugar for sprinkling
- Make a batch of sweet rice and almond shortcrust pastry as from this recipe and line either 1 large non-stick tart tin or smaller individual non-stick tart tins as you prefer.
- Blind bake the tart bases as per instructions from the same recipe. Set aside.
- Heat the oven to 190⁰ C / 375⁰ F /Gas 5
- Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended.
- Separately mix together the ground almonds and flour and then gradually add to the wet mixture, beating in with a wooden or silicone spoon / spatula until thoroughly mixed.
- Spoon the frangipane mixture into the cooked tart bases and spread evenly.
- Put the cherries evenly onto the frangipane filling. Don’t worry if some are on top of others.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (dependent on the size of the pie) until the frangipane is set and golden in colour.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins.
- Once cool, dust with icing sugar and eat as it is or serve with cream, custard or ice cream.
Gluten Free Alchemist ©
2013 unless otherwise indicated