I love fresh cherries, and at this time of year they are plump and sweet.
When the cherries hit the produce section I grab them up for cherry pies, cherry sauce, and for eating ice cold on a hot day. However, I must warn you, cooking with fresh cherries in season will spoil you for any other kind of cherry. Even the frozen kind, picked and preserved at their peak, pale in comparison to fresh.
I also love cherry cheese danish … more than I can say. There is something about tart cherries and tangy sweet cheese filling that appeals to me more than any other combination. It seemed natural to me to transform the best part of the danish, the filling, into a tart!
The result was creamy, tart, not too sweet, and good for both breakfast AND dessert! Bonus! It stores well for two days, so feel free to make this in advance for a dinner party or brunch.
Cherry Cheese Tart 1 9″ Tart – Serves 8
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3-4 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1 – 8oz block cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
For the cherry topping:
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Heat the oven to 425F and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix well, then add the cubed butter. Rub it into the flour mixture with your fingers. You will want about 30% of the butter to be in pieces between pea and hazelnut sized, while the rest is blended in well. Add the cold water, starting with three tablespoons and adding the fourth if needed, and knead about ten times. Form into a disk, cover with plastic and chill for 30 or up to three days.
While the dough chills prepare the cherry topping.
In a medium sized pan mix the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat until thick, about ten minutes. Allow to cool slightly then add the almond extract and lemon juice. Stir well and cool to room temperature then store, in an air tight container, in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Next, prepare the cheese filling.
In the bowl of a food processor, or stand mixer, add the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and sugar. Process until very smooth.
Add the flour and blend until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Roll out the dough for the crust on a well floured surface. Line the inside of the tart pan with the dough, making sure not to pull or stretch the dough in the pan, and trim off any excess. Dock the dough with a fork then line the crust with parchment and add pie weights, beans or rice.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove the weights and parchment and bake for 10 additional minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Lower the oven temperature to 350F. Fill the crust with the cheese filling and bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed all over.
Cool to room temperature, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Spread the cherry topping over the tart before serving.
Enjoy for breakfast or dessert!
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