When Sarah and I were thinking about what to make for Christmas this year all that could spring to mind was fruit – ‘A box of mangos! Lychees! A bowl of cherries! Peaches!’ I’m not sure if this is because we’ve been so busy we haven’t had time to think about puddings – which really should have been made a month ago and should be sitting up on a high, airy shelf improving until Christmas Eve – or whether in the southern hemisphere where it’s summer, Christmas really is all about perfectly ripe fruit. In both our families Christmas was celebrated with the purchase of a large box of mangos, a bulging bag of cherries and stone fruits. These fruits which, in our houses were considered expensive and to be savoured, at Christmas were in abundance, to be eaten as much of as we wanted and whenever. My mum would slit the mangos down each side of the pip and then criss-cross the cheek, opening them out so that they looked like the spiny back of an echidna. I would eat cherries, spitting the pips into the garden, until my lips were red with juice. My hands were always sticky with fruit juice.
This Christmas we wanted to celebrate this fruity abundance, but with something more sophisticated than a mango cut into the shape of a snuffling animal, or cherries bursting in your mouth, their pips spit into the garden! We think this chocolate tart is the perfect way to celebrate the height of the cherry season. It’s rich and dark with chocolate. We love the black on black look of the chocolate pastry and chocolate filling and the tart should be piled with as many cherries as looks decent. The beautiful rich red of the cherries is so festive, and we’ve made them boozy with a little cherry liquor to bring depth to the bright taste of the cherry flesh. My favourite part of making this tart is pitting the cherries, as the laborious task is made fun simply by eating half of the cherries as you pit them. Hopefully by the end of the task both the bowl and your belly will be full of fruit.Chocolate Tart with Cherries Adapted from the July 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller
for the chocolate pastry
200g plain flour
60g pure icing sugar, sieved
70g Dutch-process cocoa powder
110g cold butter, coarsely chopped
3 free-range egg yolks
for the filling
3 free-range eggs
4 free-range egg yolks
175g caster sugar
375g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
250g butter, coarsely chopped
for the cherries
500g cherries, pitted and halved
50ml cherry liquor
For the chocolate pastry, process flour, icing sugar and cocoa in a food processor until combined. Add butter, process until mixture resembles fine crumbs, then add egg yolks, process to combine. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and bring pastry together with the heel of your hand. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for one hour. Meanwhile, have the pitted, and halved cherries steeping in the cherry liquor.
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll pastry into a round on a lightly floured surface and line a 24cm-diameter, 10cm-deep buttered and floured spring-form tin. Refrigerate to rest for one hour. Blind bake until pastry is almost cooked (8-10 minutes), then remove weights and paper and bake until cooked through (8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggs, yolks and sugar in an electric mixer until pale (4-5 minutes). Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (4-6 minutes). Fold through egg mixture, then pour into hot tart base and bake until set (15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
When tart is cool, pile with cherries and serve.
Trotski & Ash
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