If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where cherries are already coming in to season, this is the dessert you need to be making. It would be a perfect Mother’s Day showstopper, or an impressive end to a weekend dinner party. If you’re still waiting on cherries to arrive at your market, then do yourself a favor and bookmark this page, because you’ll want to jump on this the moment you have the chance.
For more ideas on how to cook with cherries, check out Stacy Adimando’s edition, Cherries. It features recipes such as Roasted Cherry & Burrata Crostini, Cherry Chipotle Carnitas, and Chocolate Cherry Milkshakes with Cherry Whipped Cream.
Chocolate Cherry Tart
SERVES 6 TO 8
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CRUST:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
FOR THE FILLING & TOPPING:
1 cup heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (use a bar, not chips), coarsely chopped
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1 teaspoon orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
15 to 20 whole sweet red cherries, pitted and halved vertically, for garnish
Homemade whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large, deep bowl using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar, scraping down side of bowl as needed with a spatula. Add the egg yolks, and mix, scraping down the side of bowl as needed to incorporate.
In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder; add the salt and whisk to combine. Working at low speed, beat or stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches, stopping as soon as it’s incorporated. The dough will be still be crumbly but will start to look moist and sticky enough to potentially hold together. Form the mixture into a ball with your hands.
Reserve a golf-ball-size piece of dough and wrap it in plastic wrap; set aside. Place the remainder of the dough in the center of a 13-by-4- inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom (alternatively, you can use a 9-inch round tart pan). Using your fingertips, press the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a very thin (1/8-inch) layer. Make sure the dough is not too thick in the corners; discard any excess dough. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork, place the tart pan on a small baking sheet and freeze for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Remove the tart shell from the freezer. Bake until the dough is starting to cook, about 8 minutes, then open the oven and check to see if the dough has puffed up at all. If it has, press the dough back down into the bottom of a pan using a spatula (if any holes form, you can patch them later with the reserved dough).
Bake the crust until it’s just cooked through and no longer wet, about 15 minutes more. Remove the shell from the oven. While the crust is still hot, patch any holes with pieces of the reserved dough (the residual heat will fuse them together). Let the shell cool completely. (The crust can be made up to 1 day ahead. Once cooled, wrap securely in plastic wrap.)
When you’re ready to finish the tart, preheat the oven to 350°. Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Set a heatproof bowl over the pot so that it fits on top of the pot without touching the water; add the cream and chocolate and cook, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is well combined. Remove the bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk. To temper the egg so it doesn’t scramble, whisk 1 to 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, then slowly whisk the egg mixture into the larger bowl of chocolate until it’s completely combined. Stir in the orange liqueur, vanilla and a pinch of kosher salt.
Pour the chocolate filling into the tart shell, using a spatula as needed to help spread the filling evenly in the shell. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is just set but jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken, 18 to 20 minutes.
Remove the tart from the oven and sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt. Let the tart cool completely, then top with the cherries, cut side down. Slice and serve with whipped cream, if desired.