There’s just something about stone fruit. I named my daughter after one, so it’s safe to say I’m a fan. Each year, when our local orchard is spilling over with fresh peaches, plums and cherries, we load up on our favorites and hardly any make it to the freezer because they’re just so good fresh. But I usually manage to squirrel away a bit of our haul for a recipe or two. This week, a not-too-sweet Cherry Thyme Tart, made with a delicate almond butter shortbread crust and fresh red cherries bathed in simple syrup infused with fresh thyme from our garden.
Heaven on Earth, I kid you not.
Cherry Thyme Tart
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, chopped
- 3 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 lb. cherries, washed, split and pitted
- Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup pure cane sugar
- 3-4 large sprigs fresh thyme
- Put flour, sugar, and salt in a mixer bowl. Add butter and mix using paddle until butter is broken into pea-size pieces. Add almond butter; mix 1 minute more. If any larger pieces of butter remain, remove bowl and break up with fingers.
- On low speed, add egg yolk and add water, a little at a time, to pull the dough together. (Add sparingly. If dough is too wet, it will shrink when baked.)
- If dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate for 15 minutes. If not, transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan with removable rim. Press dough out toward the edge and up sides slightly, about ¼-inch thick.
- Preheat oven to 375˚. Place a piece of foil on center of pan (on top of dough) fill with beans or pie weights, and set on a baking sheet on lower oven rack. Bake about 15 minutes and carefully remove beans/weights, peel foil off, and continue to bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Cool shell in tart pan. (Be careful moving shell - it's very fragile when warm!)
- Prepare syrup by combining water, sugar and thyme in a small saucepan and bringing to a boil. Reduce to about half (or until thick and syrupy). Remove from heat to cool slightly
- Gently spread mascarpone cheese over top of tart. Cover evenly with cherry halves. Once simple syrup is slightly cooled, brush over top of tart using a pastry brush. Serve immediately or chill.
The crust of this recipe was inspired by one I saw over at Delicious Living, where you can always find a ton of fabulous, realistic recipes made with real ingredients. They are one of the very few places I partner with for content to share here, because they are just so full of natural, healthy living inspiration.
Their blueberry tart is an award winner, with a tender, delicate, shortbread-y crust that isn’t full of too much sugar. It only calls for 2 tablespoons, and it gets most of its flavor from almond butter. The almond and cherry combo seemed like a perfect match to me, so that tart crust recipe is where I started for this one. (The only change is the omission of whole wheat pastry flour, mainly because I didn’t have any.)
I’m having a bit of a ‘thyme obsession’ moment. So I thought, thyme and cherries? A perfect pair, like strawberries and basil, or watermelon and mint. I always fall back in love with herbs this time of year, and since my thyme came back fast and furious from last year’s garden, I had to give it a warm welcome as the subtle star of this show.
It definitely didn’t disappoint. One bite in, and I was calling my mom and dad to come over and share. The slight herb infusion doesn’t take over by any means – it’s subtle – but it’s a key player.
With the fresh cherries? Perfecto.
Not too sweet, with a personality all its own. Take this one to your next potluck or party, then drop back in and let me know how fast it went!
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