Sour Cherry Tart

Since red fruits have always been her favorite, I made this Sour Cherry Tart for my mother’s birthday.  She’s the person who always picks out the red gummy bears leaving the other colors behind.  We do share this fondness for red fruits-cherries, strawberries, red currants, raspberries, pomegranites. When I think about how relentless the heat can be at this time of year in New York City, sour cherries make summer worthwhile..

For this tart, I decided to make a Pate Sucree instead of my standard pie shell which is usually savory. Ordinarily I prefer baking with natural sweeteners, like maple sugar and palm sugar, because they’re less refined and have better nutrients in them, but here I’ve made an exception. Cane sugar yields an important subtle undertone of crunchy texture in the tart that is impossible to achieve otherwise in this case.

I was thrilled that little “X” wanted to play a pivotal role in pitting the cherries. He placed the cherry in the slot of the cherry pitter and I poked it through.   It was highly efficient until he insisted on actually holding the cherry pitter himself. Cherry juice splattered everywhere! With his help the tart was baked in time for my deadline.

The sourness from the cherries complements the sweetness of the crust perfectly. I adapted the crust from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food, which was  just starting to gather dust on my bookshelf. I have been flipping through it’s pages ever since I had the unforgettable Peach Cobbler on a recent yoga retreat with Alex Auder, of west village yoga, to the Waterfall House. After all, simple cooking is my favorite. Even if I don’t follow the recipes, I mostly enjoy it as light bedtime reading.

Sour Cherry Tart

 Makes a 9 inch tart

Tart Dough (Pate Sucree)


1 stick butter, softened (8 Tablespoons)

1/3-cup cane sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk (room temperature)

1¼-cups unbleached flour


For the cherry filling:

3 cups sour cherries (pitted)

½ cup sugar

1 pinch salt

1-teaspoon vanilla

1/3-cup water

1 ½ Tablespoons arrowroot powder

  1. With a wooden spoon, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Add and mix the salt, vanilla and egg yolk until completely combined.
  3. Fold in the flour, until there are no dry patches. Chill for at least 4 hours or until firm.
  4. Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove and invert the dough onto the pan, lightly pressing the edges. Prick the crust with a fork all over. Chill for 15 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350.
  5. Make the filling by mixing the cherries, sugar, arrowroot, vanilla, water and pinch of salt.  Remove the crust from the fridge and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the cherry filling. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraiche.