Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cherry Tart From the Fridge Freezer and Pantry

A well stocked kitchen is a joy. I often (really often) find that I don't have the ingredients I need to make a recipe that catches my eye, so it's nice when a plan comes together easily like this yummy tart. I had frozen puff pastry in the freezer, a jar of dark pitted cherries in juice in the pantry, and in the fridge I had non-dairy Kite Hill ricotta, Silk soy creamer, an egg and a lemon for zesting. With a little sugar, sliced almonds and vanilla from the bake center, we were good to go.

First you use the puff pastry to make a free-standing tart base. I used a sharp knife to cut off 1/2-inch wide pieces from both the long and short sides, then used an egg whisked with a teaspoon of water to 'glue' those strips along the edges of the puff pastry sheet to make the tart sides. Be sure to prick the inside of the tart all over with a fork before baking, as I should have done, since it helps the interior to not rise as much as the sides. I had to flatten the interior with a pancake turner to achieve the same results. I did it about halfway through the bake when I realized my error, then at the end of the bake when the part shell had become golden brown in the middle.

You let the tart shell cool, then drain the cherries. I didn't use the whole jar, so don't throw the juice may need it for storing the rest of the cherries or for pouring over vanilla ice cream.

A 4 oz. portion of ricotta, mixed using a stick blender, with some soy creamer, the rest of the egg mixture, and vanilla made a nice, creamy filling for the bottom of the tart. I stirred in some grated lemon zest, too and a bit of sugar. A small offset spatula helped make the filling nice and even across the rectangular tart.

It's kinda fun to place the cherries in rows like soldiers all across the tart. I pushed them down into the filling a little bit. Once all the cherries are in place, I baked the tart for another 10 minutes to cook the filling, toast the almonds and warm up the cherries. My oven runs may need up to an additional 5 minutes. After the tart cooled to room temperature, it was ready to be served and enjoyed.

Although I really haven't been baking much (although I needed this tart to serve at an afternoon meeting, so it had to be made) since the garden is calling, I will be baking bread again soon for the Bread Baking Babes monthly challenge. I'll be posting that on the 16th.

The garden is coming along nicely. I planted an apple tree yesterday and have also been planting some perennials that were a birthday gift. Some of the seedlings are planted out, too, and some are just sprouting. It will be weeks before the soil warms enough for tomatoes and squash and cucumbers. I'm enjoying the tulips and daffodils and early wildflowers, too. Hope that you have been able to at least plant seeds indoors if you love gardening. I know that our unusual warm weather has not been the norm most places and winter is still having its way with you.Still, spring is coming (Northern Hemisphere)!

Easy Cherry Tart

1 sheet puff pastry (usually 1/2 a box)
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
1 jar dark sweet cherries packed in their own juice - about 20 oz.
4 oz. ricotta cheese - I used Kite Hill non-dairy ricotta
2 tablespoons 1/2 and 1/2 or soy creamer
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
zest from 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Thaw the puff pastry. On a lightly flour surface, roll the puff pastry into a rectangle 10" x 12". Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/2" strip from each side of the rectangle. You will need to cut a 1/2" piece off the end of each strip for fitting. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and water. Using a pastry brush, brush each strip  and lay the egg side down on the puff pastry rectangle at the edge, short pieces on the short sides, long pieces on the long sides. Use the tines of a fork to prick the inside of the tart all over. Using the same pastry brush, carefully egg wash the top of the pastry strips, being careful that the egg wash doesn't run down. If desired, sprinkle the egg wash with sanding sugar.

Place the pastry rectangle with sides attached on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until tart is lightly golden brown. If necessary, use a pancake turner to flatten the inside of the tart shell.

Cool tart shell to room temperature. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

While shell is cooling, drain the cherries. Don't rinse. Reserve the juice for another use.

In a medium bowl, place the ricotta, creamer, vanilla and the rest of the egg wash. Using a hand blender or lots of 'elbow grease' and a whisk, combine the ingredients into a creamy mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and sugar. Spread this mixture in the cooled tart. Smooth and even across the tart shell with a small offset spatula.

Use your clean fingers to place the cherries in rows across the tart shell, pushing cherries slightly down into the filling. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 -15 minutes to lightly toast the almonds and cook the filling. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Best the day it is made.

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