I had some complaints (comments?) from people who tasted my cherry tarts last time because I failed to elaborate on the crust. That was because I wasn’t happy with the crust. Although in awe of the baker whose blog I nicked the crust recipe from, I didn’t think I had done it right.
Or my skills weren’t up to hers. Here it is:
This time, I think I did a much better job of it so I will share my version below, with the wee alterations I used very successfully to create yet another set of tasty cherry tarts — although this time they are less ugly, if I do say so myself.
By the way, I partly blame the fiasco last time on these silicon baking cups. In retrospect, they were an unnecessary nuisance. One more strike against cooking with silicon (see yesterday’s Creamy Meyer Lemon Ice Pops).
Vegan Cherry Tart (or Tarts)
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. Once your filling is cooling (or thawed — you can cook the cherries whenever you have too many ripe ones on hand and keep frozen till you are ready), make your crust.
Vegan Shortbread Crust
1/2 cup (one stick) Earth Balance, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the butter into the sugar in a big bowl using a pastry cutter or two knives. I have a hard time doing this without a pastry cutter it turns out, so buy one or borrow your Mom’s! Once the sugar and Earth Balance are just a big mound of sand, add the other ingredients, kneading with your hands to create big clumps of dough.
Now you are ready to grease and flour whatever tart pan or muffin pans you are using. You can either make one full-sized tart or several smaller ones with this recipe. We made two minis and a medium this time, using two small ceramic bowls and a foil disposable tin. It’s important to grease and flour well though, because shortbread can be sticky.
Press the dough into the prepared pans until the bottom and sides are covered uniformly with about an 1/8 inch of dough. Ensure it is smooth.
Add filling to desired level and bake about 20 – 30 minutes until crust edges are golden brown.
Easy! And so good. The crust should caramelize and add a lovely, buttery (butter-free!) crunch to the sticky sweetness of the fruit. Nobody will believe they are vegan.