The cherries were on sale. Fresh from Washington state, Bing cherries, $4.99 a pound! the sign read. I stared at the individually wrapped 2 lb bags of cherries. That’s still $9 for cherries. No keep walking I told myself, but they were taunting me. I could almost taste their sweet, slightly tart juice and meaty flesh. My mind started racing with recipe ideas: cherry salsa? hand-pies? trifle? I could eat them raw while watching Chopped. The possibilities were endless. After much back and forth, I found myself standing at the checkout counter paying for a $9 bag of beautiful cherries.
I don’t regret it. We snacked on the raw cherries, the kids taking turns with the cherry pitter, cherry juice staining their mouths and hands. I managed to save half of the cherries and tuck them safely behind a gallon of unopened milk in the refrigerator. The next day I made a fresh cherry tart, a Martha Stewart recipe I had my eyes on for weeks.
I made a couple of changes. Her recipe called for a graham cracker crust and I opted for a crunchy, sweet and delectable Cracklin’ Oat Bran crust. My sister-in-law introduced me to this crust when she made Dorothy’s Fresh Blueberry Pie, again swapping out a traditional crust for this bit of crunchy food heaven.
The Cracklin’ Oat Bran crust came together as easily as any graham cracker crust. Once the crust cooled, I spread a silky honey and cream cheese mixture to the edges of the crackling crust. I topped the tart with fresh cherries and a bit of raspberry glaze; I placed the tart in the refrigerator to chill and occupied myself with the kids outside.
Patience is a virtue, but not my virtue…or Bubba’s…or the kids. I sliced into this tart as soon as 30 minutes of chilling time passed. Patience and willpower be damned!
Fresh Cherry Tart
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Cracklin’ Oat Bran Crust from Food 52
Ingredients for Filling:
6 ounces from bar of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup of honey (mild)
zest of 1 lime
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 lb Bing cherries, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
Ingredients for Cracklin’ Oat Bran Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pre-heat your oven to 375F. Using a food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the cereal until fine. Be sure to measure the cereal after you grind it. You want 1 1/2 cups of ground cereal.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ground cereal with the melted butter until evenly combined. The cereal should look like wet sand.
Dump the cereal/butter mixture into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press mixture evenly along the bottom of the tart pan and up the sides.
Bake the crust for about 9 minutes, but start checking it at 7 minutes. The crust is ready when it is dry and a deeper shade of brown. Cool on a wire rack before filling.
Directions for Cherry Filling:
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the cream and continue to beat until soft peaks form. (I switched from the paddle attachment to the beater attachment at this point.) Gently fold in lime zest.
Spread mixture in cooled crust and top with cherries.
Using a small sauce pan, combine raspberry jam and 1 teaspoon of water. Heat over low heat until liquefied, a couple of minutes. Grab your pastry brush and dab the cherries with the glaze. Cover the tart and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. Enjoy!
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