Mini Rustic Cherry Tarts

So last week when I came home from work I found my roommate baking cherry turnovers. Being the fabulous roommate that she is, she not only informed me that they were dairy free, but she saved one for me as well! When I was little there was an italian bakery up the street from where I lived that had cherry turnovers that were dairy free as well.  Most turnovers have butter in the puff pastry or a cream cheese glaze on the top so it was unique that this particular bakery made them without any dairy. After tasting my roommates delicious turnover I decided that I wanted to make some sort of cherry dessert, I don’t know about you but I love cherries in the summertime. Next to watermelon they are one of my favorites! I have never really made anything with cherries in, I typically just eat them by themselves.  So I did some research and found these delicious rustic cherry tarts on Pinterest and decided to make them! You may be asking what’s rustic about them? Really all this means is that the crust doesn’t have to look perfect, it’s more of a loosely folded crust so the pressure is off here for perfection, we’re going rustic with these and they will be just as tasty.

 

cherries

 

This brings me to my next reason for making these. I have been making my own pie crust since I was in middle school. One of my favorite children’s books was How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. In the back of this book was an apple pie recipe, with a recipe for crust that always seemed to work so I never really tried anything else. It was fine, very simple, no fuss, but it wasn’t super flavorful. Since I can’t use butter you didn’t get that great, rich buttery flavor in the crust since I had always used margarine, which, lets be honest is pretty fake. I had been wanting to try another crust recipe and I figured if I made a cherry tart I would be able to do that since it calls for a pie crust, not a puff pastry. I also hear a lot of people tell me how hard it is to make a successful crust that’s easy to work with so I wanted to share my crust experience with ya’ll, and make it so from here on out you will be the master of a delicious, golden buttery pastry crust. Lets get started shall we?

 

tatrs

This recipe was modified from Chocolate with Grace.

 

Mini Rustic Cherry Tarts

Serving size 6 mini tarts (You could do one large one as well, but I like the mini ones for having people over so they each get their own, I think the presentation is also much nicer.)

Ingredients 

Pastry Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 cup butter flavored Crisco
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
Cherry Filling
  • 4 cups pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 T sugar
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Turbinado sugar “Sugar in the Raw”

 

Just be aware that the crust will need to chill for a minimum of 1 hour so you’ll want to plan accordingly. I will tell you that the longer the crust is chilled the easier it will be to work with. Take a medium bowl and add the flour, salt and sugar.

 

 

flour

 

Next take your butter flavored Crisco and break off pea sized pieces, slowly adding them to the flour mixture. If you have a pastry blender, you can use that to fold in the Crisco, but honestly you don’t need one. I have never owned one and I have managed just fine, you have hands that work just as well, or even a fork would work. You will add about 1/4 of the pea sized drops, incorporate into the mixture, then add another 1/4 of the pea sized drops and incorporate, continue this pattern until you have used all the Crisco.

butter

 

At this point  you should have a crumbly, almost parmesan cheese consistency in the mixture. Next you will pour the ice water over the top and mix all together into a nice ball of dough.

 

dough

 

If you feel like yours is too sticky or too dry you can adjust accordingly, but do so in moderation. Just add a touch of flour or a drop of water if you feel it’s absolutely necessary. Wrap the ball of dough in lightly floured wax paper and place into the refrigerator for 1 plus hours.

 

ball of dough

 

I did this next portion once the crust had been chilled for two hours. In a medium bowl pit and quarter the cherries. If you don’t have a cherry pitter like myself you can cut them like you would cut an avocado since the pit is in the middle just cut it in half slightly to the side of the pit and then just remove the pit with your fingers. I know this sounds like a lot of work for four cups of cherries, but it actually didn’t take too long. There are cherry pitters out there though so if you can get your hands on one that will be the best scenario. Once they are all ready in the bowl add the sugar, lemon juice and corn starch.

 

cherries quartered

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and remove the crust from the refrigerator. I divided my ball of dough into 4 manageable sections. I tried rolling it out with a rolling pin, but it wasn’t really working that well so I decided to place the dough on a piece of lightly floured wax paper and used my hands to press it out into six small circles like mini pizzas. You want to try and get them rolled out to 6-8” in diameter and then place them on the parchment covered baking pan. I did them one at a time, it seemed easier. So once you place the first circle on the pan add some spoonfuls of the cherry mixture to the middle of the circle and just fold the dough in around it. You will see in the picture below how much you’ll want to use and how far you will fold the dough in. Then just repeat five more times.

final

 

In a small bowl, beat one egg and take a pastry brush, brushing the egg wash on the crusts of each tart. This will give it the nice golden color you are looking for. Next take some of the Turbinado sugar and sprinkle onto each of the crusts, this sugar is a larger crystal size and will give the tarts a nice professional bakery look. Pop those in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until a golden brown color develops and then enjoy!

 

six

 

I will definitely be making these again, they were everything I was hoping that they would be and they are great for entertaining in the summertime. I had two friends over to enjoy them and I made some homemade whipped cream to top them with. This is obviously only recommended for your not dairy-free friends. This crust recipe is now my favorite, and I will be using it for other things in the future. The flavor was rich and buttery, complementing the flavor of the cherries and it melts in your mouth. Let me know if you make them, and if you like them as much as I did.

 

completed

Bon Appetit Ya’ll!

 

 

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