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Sunday 29 June 2014

Recipe: Cherry Pie, Chocolate Tart, Super Simple 5 ingredient BLISS!

This is the kind of recipe that’s I love writing about, those little triumphs in the kitchen that can really take the edge off a crappy day. Not just the relaxation and distraction of creating, but the “phoenix from the ashes moment” of having created something really very nice out of leftovers (and bits and things).

After the the supper club last week we had some left over cherries, I’d bought a box to go with the petit fours:

I new I’d have a busy week ahead, and I could just imagine them, the following Saturday, in the same bowl on the kitchen table, with a giant bloom of mould growing on them. So I had a look around the kitchen this is what I found: mascarpone cheese, a roll of flaky pastry, and a lemon.

Well pastry screams PIE (and smiles!) so I hunted around for a tart tin but the only thing I could find was this dingy sized pyrex dish which would have made a half decent glass bottomed boat! Kept looking . . . muffin tray? Maybe, could make 12 mini pies . . . kept looking and found a rather dinky pyrex dish, not exactly the tart tin I was looking for but about the right size, the sides were too high but, mheh, yeah, I reckon it’d do, so I rolled with it.

Found some sugar for a stock syrup, and an egg . . . right ready for action!

ingredients (serves 6-8)
for the cherry pie
375g flaky pastry (1 pack / pre rolled)
400g cherries (stoned)
400g stock syrup (200g sugar & 200g water)
250g mascarpone cheese
300g chocolate spread
1 egg
4 sheets (gelatine)
1/2 lemon (juiced)
3 star anise (optional)
pinch of cinnamon

for the garnish
soured cream (something sharp, to complement the sweet tart).

apparatus / equipment
22cm pyrex dish
pastry brush (or a bit of kitchen towel works well)

method - quick version 
Blind bake the pastry @ 180C for 20min. Seal it with beaten egg.
Mix the chocolate spread and mascarpone cheese until smooth and spread it onto the pastry for the bottom layer.
Soften the stoned the cherries in a stock syrup and infuse with star anise and cinnamon for at least an hour.
Once infused, strain, and place the cherries on top of the chocolate to create the middle layer. 
Add gelatine to the syrup, reduce by 1/2. cool and pour over the cherries. Allow to set.

This is so simple! That’s what makes this cherry and chocolate tart even better. Turn the oven on to 180C.

Butter the pyrex dish, and unroll the pastry onto it. Lift the edges so the pastry can be pushed right to the bottom without tearing. (specially if it’s deep) I reckon a loaf tin would would work too. It would result in more of a terrine style pie.

At this point I’d normally line it with baking paper, and add some ceramic balls to blind bake the pastry. But, as I said, I was doing a bit of free styling in an unfamiliar kitchen. So no baking balls!! I did brush the pastry with a beaten egg though to water proof it from the filling. Bake for 20mins @ 180C

While the pastry is in the oven, put the water and sugar into a sauce pan and put it on full on the hob. Add the star anise and the cinnamon. While that comes to the boil, wash and stone the cherries. Add them to the boiling syrup (taking care not to splash yourself) and as soon as it’s back up to the boil take it off the heat.

Put the gelatine into some cold water, leave it for 5 mins then squeeze it of excess water and add it to the syrup.

Next, mix the mascarpone and the chocolate until you have a smooth and creamy chocolate pate.

Spread the mix into the bottom of the pastry lined dish. Then sieve the cherries, keeping the syrup, and place them on top of the chocolate. Then put the whole tart in the fridge to set. (Best to cover it in cling film so it does’t take up any weird flavours like kippers or blue cheese)

Reduce the the syrup by half, then add the lemon juice, allow to cool and pour onto the tart. (after removing the cling film obviously) Return to the fridge to set.

to serve
Once set, cut into slices and serve as is, or with a scoop of soured cream, or maybe a lemon ice cream

Sooo good! So so good!

thinking ahead
You can make this a few days in advance and keep it in the fridge no problem.

what could go wrong? (notes)
“I tried to warm up my portion of tart” - DO NOT do that unless you want a pool of chocolate sauce with a bunch of angry cherries looking up at you!! Last thing you want!

“My gelatine turned into gloop and I could’t get it out if the water!” - Soak the gelatine in COLD water NOT warm water.

techniques used
Patience (required for the setting of the tart)

I reckon this would be pretty good with a mix of soft fruits, strawberries, blueberries etc
Use agar to make the veggie version of this, or reduce the sauce a little more and don’t use a setting agent at all!!


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