Fresh Cherry Tart Recipe

This Fresh Cherry Tart Recipe is beautiful and delicious and is a recipe you have to try for your next party or special occasion. You won’t regret making this impressive and tasty treat!

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So by now, you have probably heard me talk about the copious amounts of cherries we purchased this summer. I was determined to make a bunch of cherry treats but to be honest, I had no idea what to make. I spent some time browsing social media and the internet for some inspiration. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of impressive desserts including fresh cherry tarts. I had never made a tart, but decided to give it a try! That’s how I roll.

fresh cherries in a bowl

How to Make a Fresh Cherry Tart.

This Fresh Cherry Tart Recipe will make you feel like you can make anything in the kitchen! There are several steps in this cherry tart recipe, and you will not be whipping this up quickly, but the steps flow pretty easily. I usually say my recipes are easy, this one is a little more complex. But I promise you can do it!

The homemade cherry syrup makes this dish even better.

Most fruit syrups are in fact, easy to make. Take an equal amount of sugar and water, add some fruit, boil, steep, and then strain. I use my masher when I am cooking the syrup to smash the fruit as it boils releasing as much of the juice as I can. I also give the fruit one last squeeze with the back of a spoon as it is going through the sieve just to make sure I got as much of the syrup as I can. And since I hate to waste anything, especially beautiful fruit, I use the mashed fruit for a cocktail or add it to popsicles for my son! See my recipe for Homemade Luxardo Cherries if you want to add liquor to your syrup!

The Crust is basic and can be used for several desserts.

This is a pretty basic crust. Once you have made it a few times, it will be a staple in your kitchen. Place the flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl and combine. Next, add butter pieces and incorporate them with a pastry cutter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the ice water and then the egg yolks until you have a wet, sticky dough. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a ball. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into round discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

This tart has a simple but delicious pastry cream.

Some call it pastry cream, some call it custard. Whatever you call it, this stuff is amazing! Place the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Add the milk and the egg yolks to another bowl and whisk together and then add to the saucepan. Lastly, add the butter to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Place the pastry cream in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Right before you assemble the tart you will add freshly whipped cream to make this one of the best pastry creams you will ever have!

Prepare the gorgeous cherries for the decoration.

The only bummer about getting so many fresh cherries is having to clean, de-stem, and pit all of them. Ok, I really shouldn’t even complain about that because it’s so worth it. And I have a cherry pitter which is a game-changer. So, once you have rinsed, de-stemmed, and pitted all of the cherries, you will prepare them for presentation. I cut mine in half as you can see in the photos, but you could absolutely leave them whole if you wanted to. More cherries for everyone!

Assemble, chill and enjoy!

Once all of these steps have happened, it finally time to put this beautiful cherry tart together! Add the pastry cream with the added whipped cream to the base of the tart shell. Arrange your cherries on top and then carefully pour on the cherry syrup on top. Chill one more time! I know, I know, but it’s worth it!

Can this tart be made with other fruit?

Absolutely! If you don’t have cherries, you could always use blueberries or raspberries or whatever fruit you like. That’s what’s great about fruit recipes, they are usually pretty versatile.

Can I use frozen or canned cherries?

It wouldn’t be my first choice and the presentation would not be the same. Using fresh cherries ensures they full of flavor and nice and firm. Canned cherries don’t have the same structure. However, if you wanted to make this beautiful dessert for the holidays or didn’t have fresh cherries, frozen cherries will work in a pinch.

What steps can be done ahead of time?

This Fresh Cherry Tart Recipe has quite a few steps and takes some time, but don’t run away yet. Most of the time in this recipe is spent chilling things in the fridge or freezer. Here are a few things you can do the day before or even a few days before so it won’t be so overwhelming (or you can be like me and do it all in one day!).

  • Make the crust dough ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll it out.
  • You could also make and bake the crust, leave it in the fridge and have it ready for the next day. This dessert is served chilled anyway.
  • Make the pastry cream and/or the whipped cream ahead of time and chill in the fridge.
  • Make the cherry syrup ahead of time. Not only is this the easiest step, but you can also use the cherry syrup for other things like drinks and cocktails!
cherry tart
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Fresh Cherry Tart

An impressive and delicious Fresh Cherry Tart that tastes as good as it looks!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cherry dessert receip, cherry recipe, cherry tart, custard, pastry cream, tart recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
chill time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Author EmilyFabulous

Equipment

  • tart pan
  • pie crust weights or beans
  • cherry pitter (optional)
  • saucepan
  • Rolling Pin
  • mesh seive

Ingredients

Cherry Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted

Crust

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup ice-cold water
  • 3 large egg yolks, beaten

Pastry Cream and Cherry Topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 3 cups cherries, pitted and cut in half

Instructions

Cherry Syrup

  • Add all of the syrup ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring and smashing cherries until boiling. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat.
  • Smash the cherries a little more to release the juices and then allow the mixture to cool completely. Once cooled, strain the cherries from the syrup and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
    cooked cherries straining for syrup

Crust

  • Place the flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl and stir to combine. Add butter pieces and incorporate them with a pastry cutter until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the ice water a little at a time, mixing in each time until all the water is incorporated. Add the egg yolks last, and mix in until you have a wet, sticky dough.
  • Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a ball. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into round discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
    cherry tart crust in plastic wrap for chilling
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to about a 12-inch round, about ¼ inch thick (it doesn't have to be perfect because you will cut off the excess).
    rolled out cherry tart crust dough before baking
  • Gently place the rolled out dough onto your tart pan and pat it into place using your fingers. Form around the edges and use your fingers to push the excess dough off using the sharp edges. Place the tart pan in the freezer for 15 minutes. While the crust is in the freezer, preheat oven to 375°. Remove the crust from the freezer and pierce all over with a fork to ensure the crust doesn't bubble while cooking.
    tart crust pre-bake
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on top (about 2-3 inches overhang). Fill with pie weights or something heavy. I do not have pie weights so I used some beans that have been in my pantry forever (do not eat after using as weights ?).
    tart crust prepared with pie weight beans for baking
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes more. Place on a wire rack to cool.
    baked tart crust

Pastry Cream

  • Place the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk together. Add the milk and the egg yolks to another bowl and whisk together and then add to the saucepan. Lastly, add the butter to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. This happened VERY quickly for me and instantly turned into a thick cream. **
    tart cream after butter
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Place the pastry cream in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
    tart cream prepared for cooling
  • Right before you remove the cooled pastry cream from the refrigerator, add the whipping cream to a bowl and beat with a hand mixer to make whipped cream. Once the pastry cream has cooled, whisk it one more time to get the mixture nice and creamy and then fold in the whipped cream. Add the pastry cream to the tart shell.
    tart shell with tart cream
  • Next, take sliced cherries and place them on top of pastry cream until the entire surface is covered.
    tart shell with cream and sliced cherries
  • Spoon the cherry syrup on top of the sliced cherries slowly until covered being careful not to overfill and spillover edge.
    tart shell with cream, sliced cherries and cherry sauce
  • Place the tart in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes so everything is fully chilled and set. Enjoy!
    cherry tart

Notes

  • I also used a little maraschino liqueur syrup from my recipe for Homemade Luxardo Cherries for an extra pizzazz but the regular cherry syrup from the recipe above works perfectly, especially if you are serving to kids!

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart (of course), watched a few videos on YouTube and went for it. The result was pretty impressive if I do say so myself, and absolutely delicious.

Check out more delicious dessert recipes:

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