I’d never used a cherry pitter before and that is a lively piece of equipment. The pit goes flying and if the dog is lucky, a wee plug of cherry meat goes flying too. I was glad I was wearing one of those old free dot.com t-shirts because the cherry juice went everywhere. A nifty device though. Very efficacious and entertaining — and you can’t say that about your carrot peeler, can you?
I’m not usually a fan of high tech kitchen gadgets but I was worried that tarts wouldn’t come out of my muffin tin because the no-stick coating is coming off and these little silicon cups looked so cute at the Crate and Barrel outlet today — which weirdly has a website you can shop on because it’s a place — and a very fun one at that with excellent proximity to Peet’s on 4th Street. As it turned out, the silicon baking cups averted complete disaster because I foolishly opted not to bake the crust first and ended up with mini cherry crisps, more than tarts, which I would never have been able to scrape out of a conventional muffin tin. Thanks to the modern compound, however, they popped out, delicious but cruelly ugly to behold.
I’m not even sure I should share the recipe until I have perfected it further, simply referring you to the site where I got the shortbread crust. I don’t think this lovely cooking blog is being updated anymore because when I asked her for the rest of her recipe (i.e., filling) my e-mail bounced. Pity, because it’s a nice site:
She makes it look so easy! I substituted Earth Balance for the butter and used cinnamon and vanilla but my skills aren’t up to her level (clearly).
My filling I will share because it was delicious and my own recipe.
Cherry Tart Filling
Ripe cherries, pitted, about 3 1/2 cups
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
The juice of a large, ripe Meyer lemon (strained — about 4 tablespoons)
1/8 cup cold water
1/8 cup cornstarch
Cook the cherries, sugar, juice and cinnamon for about 15 minutes at a low heat. Whisk the cornstarch into the cold water. Add to the cherries and cook until the mixture thickens.
Cool before pouring into desired crust.
I used the crust recipe above with this filling and it yielded ten tartlets with about a half cup of cherry filling leftover which I have frozen for the day I find a good vegan or lactose-free cheesecake recipe. Do you hear me Green Valley Organics? Lactose-free cream cheese would change the world of lactose-free desserts forever.
My wee tarts were deformed, but absolutely yummy, with caramelized bits of crust and great cherry flavor and integrity. I must experiment further with the crust portion of the recipe before sharing it here. Perhaps with some aged nectarines I just pulled out of the drawer?