Recipe: Cherry on Top
Serve this delectable tatin with vanilla ice cream – home-made is best, but if you’re short on time there are plenty of ready-made flavours to choose from.
Cherry Tart Tatin
For spiced syrup
• 1 vanilla pod, split in half lenthways
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 7 cloves
• 3 star anise
• 250g caster sugar
• 250ml water
For the tart tatin
• 1 x 350g block puff pastry, thawed if frozen
• 25g unsalted butter
• 450g cherries, pitted
• 60g almonds, with their skin on
• Icing sugar, to serve
1. Start by making the spice syrup. You will only need to use 3 tbsp. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into a saucepan with the pod, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, caster sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then boil for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 220°C, 425°F, Gas 7. You will need a 20cm tart tatin dish or ovenproof frying pan.
3. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a 26cm diameter round, or 3cm bigger than your tatin dish. Leave to rest until you are ready to assemble the tart.
4. Heat the butter and 3 tbsp of the spiced syrup in the tatin dish over a medium heat until golden brown and starting to form a caramel. Add the cherries, turn down heat and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
5. Loosely roll up the pastry around a rolling pin, then carefully unroll over the top of the tart. Tuck the pastry down the sides (inside the dish) with your fingers.
6. Using a sharp knife, make 3 small incisions to the middle of the pastry to allow the steam to escape during cooking. Bake in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden, then remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a plate (set the inverted plate on top of the dish and, holding the two firmly together, quickly flip over).
7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.
8. Place the almonds onto a baking tray and cook for 3-5 minutes in the oven until they start to release their scent. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush into rough chunks.
9. When ready to serve, scatter the almonds over the tatin and dust lightly with icing sugar. Serve cut into slices with a dollop of ice cream.
The British cherry season is upon us – and where better to enjoy the deliciously juicy flavour of these home-grown delights than here in the Garden of England?
We’re spoilt here in Kent for locally-grown cherries and for farm shops, farmers’ markets, road side stalls and green grocers and supermarkets to buy – and enjoy them – at their best!
• For more sweet and savoury recipes using British cherries, visit the website www.seasonalberries.co.uk