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!
So by now, you have probably heard me talk about the copious amounts of cherries we purchase every summer and I was determined to use them all. But, to be honest, I had no idea what to make until I started seeing cherry tarts recipes.
I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart (of course), and the result was pretty impressive if I do say so myself. This recipe does take some time and has quite a few steps, but the end result is worth it, I promise!
There are a few steps 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 sweet shortcrust pastry crust (a.k.a. "pâté sucrée" which translates to sweet dough in French). 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 it 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.
Other Uses for the Pâté Sucrée Crust
Since this is a basic sweet shortcrust, you can use it for all kinds of tart-like desserts. You could fill the crust with chocolate ganache or a mousse. You can also use this dough to cut out cookie shapes and make buttery cookies!
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.
Finally, 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 it 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's 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 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 if you used canned or frozen cherries. Using fresh cherries ensures they are 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 or canned 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 it 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.
- 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 desserts and cocktails!
Check out more delicious dessert recipes:
- Easy Cherry Crumble Bars
- Meyer Lemon Cream Puffs
- Easy Cake Bites
- Easy Macaron Recipe for Beginners
- Fresh Mango Galette
Fresh Cherry Tart
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups cherries, pitted
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Crust
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces (2 sticks)
- ¼ cup ice-cold water
- 3 large egg yolks, beaten
Pastry Cream and Cherry Topping
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- 3 cups cherries, pitted and cut in half
- 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 them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- 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 of 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 it 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.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it 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).
- 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 the oven to 375°F. After 15 minutes, remove the crust from the freezer and pierce it all over with a fork to ensure the crust doesn't bubble while cooking.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the crust (about 2-3 inches overhang all around). Fill with pie weights or something heavy. I do not have pie weights so I used some beans that had been in my pantry forever (do not eat after using them as weights).
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Place the tart pan with the crust on a wire rack to cool.
- 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. Turn on the heat to medium. Lastly, add the butter to the saucepan and continue cooking and whisking until the mixture comes to a boil. This happens very quickly and turns into a thick cream.
- 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.
- Before you remove the cooled pastry cream from the refrigerator, whip the cream. Pour the cold whipping cream into a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until you get stiff peaks, about 4-5 minutes. 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, leaving about ¼" of space to the top of the crust edge.
- Slice the remaining cherries and place them on top of pastry cream until the entire surface is covered.
- Carefully spoon the chilled cherry syrup on top of the sliced cherries. Be careful not to overfill and create a spill over the edge.
- Place the tart in the refrigerator for 45-60 minutes so everything is fully chilled and set. Enjoy!
- Store any leftover cherry tart covered in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- I have 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!
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
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