I have a grocery store that I shop at when I am feeding a crowd. Coopers Super Value on West 7th Street inSt Paul has the best prices on things like, ribs, pork shoulder, chorizo and tomatillos. I like that there are people from all walks of life in the store and they have a great selection of ethnic foods.
While I was at Coopers the other day they had Cherries on sale for $1.99 a lb. This was an amazing price – I have paid as much as $4 a lb. in the past so I loaded up on 3 lbs. and decided to make a homemade cherry tart. When I was a kid my mom would buy the Wagner’s Cherry Pie filling and make pies with it. I loved my mom’s pies but I had the opportunity to dip my spoon into the cherry pie filling recently and it was so cloying sweet I knew I would not be able to cook with it. I loved that sweetness as a kid but in my adult life I was looking for something more sophisticated. I had the cherries and was all set to cook with them when I realized I did not have a cherry pitter. My mother in law told me you can use a paper clip that is stretched out as a hook and fish out the pits and it really works. I should caution you, it’s best to do this outside as juice and pits can go flying and make a mess.
Here is the Recipe from the trustiest cookbook alive, The Joy of Cooking. You will note we used the crust pressed into a tart pan instead of rolling it out for pie.
2 prepared pie crusts (store bought or homemade), rolled and ready to use.
Or you can make the tart dough from the Barefoot Contessa which is what I used:
Ingredients and instructions for Tart Crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3-4 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, sugar and salt and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
Cut butter into 1/4″ pieces. Put flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Add butter and pulse about 10 times until butter forms small bits. Add ice water and process until dough comes together. Place on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit 5 minutes. Roll dough into 1/16“thick circle or square large enough to drape over the sides of a tart pan with removable bottom. Place dough in pan and press into edges of pan. Fill with cherries and bake
Ingredients and instructions for Tart filling:
- 5 cups pitted sour or Bing cherries (2 ½-3 lbs.)
1 1/4 cups sugar (3/4 cup for Bing cherries)
3 to 3 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch or quick-cooking tapioca
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract (I used vanilla instead)
- 2 to 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Fit tart crust into fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
Place the pitted cherries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and cornstarch. Toss. Add water, lemon juice, vanilla extract. Toss again to coat, making sure no lumps of sugar or cornstarch remain.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cherries are giving up their juices and the crust is brown.