Monday, August 22, 2011

Rustic Cherry Tarts in Cardamom Pastry

Remember these?  This is the bowl of halved, and then slightly sugared cherries that resulted from my kitchen exploits last week, as I figured out how to prepare cherries for tarts using the materials I happened to have on hand in my kitchen.

I did, indeed, actually make those tarts later that day, using a concoction of flavors that's been in my head for months now.  Basically the combination of cherry and cardamom.

Cardamom, you are a complicated spice and I must admit that I don't fully understand you right now.  You have an exotic name, and I rather like your speckled-y soft appearance, and your scent, like a flower's, then like a medicine's, then sweet, then spicy ... well - it's all very intriguing.  And I can't quite figure it out, but I want to spend some time with you and find out more.   

These tarts look simple enough, right?  Make a pate brise, toss some cherries in the center and fold into tarts, right?

What what made these really special, though, was the little hint of that je ne sais quoi, aka cardamom that was in them.  Okay, and a little nutmeg, too.  Not to mention all that butter.  Sigh.

Anyway, I just want to share.

I started off with an adapted recipe for the pastry that I found on the blog Secret Ingredient.  As usual, I posted the whole recipe below in case any of ya'll want to try it out.      

First came the making of the dough, then patting it out.  You can just barely see those little specs of cardamom and nutmeg in there.  They really smelled delicious.

And then the folding it up, envelope-style, like so.

And then wrapping it up to be chilled in the refrigerator for a bit.  Meanwhile, I tossed those cherries up top with sugar and spices and let them sit while the pastry was chilling, before forming them into four tarts that each looked like this one:

  The dough changed shape a little as it cooked, and I like that about these rustic tarts - each one is a little bit different.  Is it just me, or does this one look a little Georgia O'Keefe - esque?  

Anyway, I can't believe the hour I'm writing this; I must have some type of insomnia tonight, and this is no way to start the week!  Except that it's raining outside and I do love the sound of rain.  So that's alright.  Nighty-night, all.   

Cherry Tarts in Cardamom Pastry
Makes 4 rustic tarts

Cherry Filling

About 2 1/2 cups pitted cherries, halved or whole
1/4 c. brown sugar
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cardamom

Flaky Pastry

Adapted from Yolanda's (Secret Ingredient) recipe, who adapted it from Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions.
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour, plus 3 Tbsp. 
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, spices, and salt.  With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are about the size of peas. 
  2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time over the mixture, tossing gently with a fork or spoon after each addition.  Do not overmix!  Just toss enough to allow the water to incorporate.  Toss the mixture until the dough is evenly moist and begins to hold together.  Make sure those pea-sized butter pieces are still visible since these are what makes the pastry flaky after it's baked.
  3. With your hands, scoop up the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat and coax the mass into a cohesive dough. If the dough sticks to your rolling surface, lift it with a dough scraper and flour your surface more thoroughly. Gently flatten the dough with your hand into a roughly 6 x 3 x 1.5 inch rectangle. Lightly flour the work surface (and the top of the dough if it is sticky), and roll it out into a 8 x 4-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. As you roll, lightly flour the dough and the work surface as needed; lift and move the dough to make sure it is gliding and expanding on the surface, not sticking to it. Do not roll the rolling pin off the edges.
  4. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter: working from the short end, lift the bottom one-third of the rectangle up over the center and then fold the top third down to cover, forming a rectangle. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, lightly flour the work surface, and again roll the dough out into an approximately 8 x 4-inch rectangle. Fold the dough again into thirds, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes so the dough is cold when you roll it out to form the tarts. 
  5. (Advice from Yolanda): The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. For longer storage, overwrap with aluminum foil, label with the contents and date, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator for at least 8 and up to 24 hours and then use well chilled.

1.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator after it has cooled, and roll it out into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 5 inches high.
2.  Slice length-wise to make 4 rectangles that will be the 4 individual tarts.
3.  Sprinkle about 1 tsp. brown sugar in the center of each rectangle, leaving the edges plain.  Scoop 1/4 of the cherry mixture into the center of each tart, then gently fold the sides up to enclose the cherries, pressing the corners to make the dough hold together.
4.  It helps the tarts to keep shape while baking if you tuck cherries under the side folds of the pastry (see photos) as you also press the corners together.   


  1. I love making rustic tarts/galettes! And what a perfect way to ring in the last days of summer and early days of fall =)