Growing up on a farm in northern NSW, (though it wasn’t a real farm, we just called it that ‘The Farm’) I always had access to abundant tropical fruit. Our house perched on a hill covered in tropical fruit trees. Bowen mangos, custard apples, limes, mandarins, passion-fruits, lychees, macadamia all literally grew on trees around the house.
My mum slit the mangos down each side of the pip and then criss-crossed the cheek, opening them out so that they looked like the spiny back of an echidna. My brother and I spat cherry pips and our faces would be covered with sticky fruit juice.
For both Sarah and I, summer and Christmas always meant abundant fruit, especially mangos, lychees, cherries and perfectly ripe white flesh peaches. This rich chocolate tart is more sophisticated than a mango cut into the shape of an echidna, or cherries bursting in your mouth, but it is a beautiful way to celebrate the height of the cherry season. The chocolate pastry works so well, it’s velvety. The cherries should be piled indecently over the tart. And indecently, we’ve made them a little boozy with cherry liquor, but leave it out if you want. The cherry red is festive and would look grand as part of a Christmas feast. It could also work beautifully with stone fruit piled atop as well. If you’re making it with the cherries, the best bit is pitting them. I assure you you’ll end up eating as many as are supposed to cover the tart, your face sticky as a little kid’s.
Chocolate Tart with Cherries
(Adapted from the July 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller) Our version of the recipe first appeared on Apartment Therapy – Kitcn Blog Post December 2010)
for the chocolate pastry
200g plain flour
60g pure icing sugar, sieved
70g Dutch-process cocoa powder
110g cold butter, coarsely chopped
3 free-range egg yolks
for the filling
3 free-range eggs
4 free-range egg yolks
175g caster sugar
375g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
250g butter, coarsely chopped
for the cherries
500g cherries, pitted and halved
50ml cherry liquor
For the chocolate pastry, process flour, icing sugar and cocoa in a food processor until combined. Add butter, process until mixture resembles fine crumbs, then add egg yolks, process to combine. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and bring pastry together with the heel of your hand. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for one hour. Meanwhile, have the pitted, and halved cherries steeping in the cherry liquor.
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll pastry into a 32cm round on a lightly floured surface and line a 24cm-diameter, 4cm-deep buttered and floured tart tin. Refrigerate to rest for one hour. Blind bake until pastry is almost cooked (8-10 minutes), then remove weights and paper and bake until cooked through (8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggs, yolks and sugar in an electric mixer until pale (4-5 minutes). Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (4-6 minutes). Fold through egg mixture, then pour into hot tart base and bake until set (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
When tart is cool, pile with cherries and serve.