This year I've been enjoying the good and the bad parts of being a homeowner. As someone whose family moved around a lot when I was younger, it feels amazing to put roots down. Perth, Doha and Kuala Lumpur were all wonderful but Sydney is home. It's been great to have a place of our own, but also stressful and expensive. I still haven't had a proper housewarming party because we are furnishing and improving our place at such a snail's pace. Last weekend was my first moment of breathing space in a long, long time and I got to potter around my kitchen and really enjoy being in this house.
It was the first weekend in a long time that I didn't have to make a birthday cake for someone, which was kind of a relief. I could make whatever I felt like and this tart was the result. I managed to score some fresh cherries for fairly cheap and I wanted to make something that would allow them to be enjoyed just as they are. I made the most delicious brown butter tart shell which filled the house with its beautiful aroma as it baked. I whipped up a very simple white chocolate and vanilla bean cream filling that would complement the cherries without overpowering their flavour.
If you've read my blog before then you've probably heard me wax lyrical about the wonders of brown butter. The smell and flavour really elevates any baked good that you add it to. This tart was no exception, I would have happily eaten the tart shell on its own like a giant cookie. But the filling is pretty great too if you're lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh cherries. If not, this would work great with fresh strawberries or blueberries as well. I have a feeling this tart will become one of my go-to recipes whenever I find some fresh berries on sale.
Errr so I posted on facebook all excited about a giveaway I was going to share with you guys this week, but I'm an idiot who doesn't read my emails properly, so it will actually be happening next week. So please come back soon for my very first blog giveaway! Those who know me will know that I'm not big on the PR stuff, so I am only going to do a giveaway for you guys if I think it's really good and relevant to this blog. Trust me, it's good! But for now you will have to settle for this recipe.
Cherry & Vanilla White Chocolate Tart with a Brown Butter Shell
(makes one 24cm tart, tart shell adapted from this recipe)
For the brown butter tart dough:
125g (4.5 oz/just over 1 stick) butter
105g (3.75 ounces/about 1/2 cup) sugar
35g (1.25 ounces) brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
300g (10.6oz/ about 2.5 cups) plain/all purpose flour, sifted
Prepare the brown butter ahead of time as you will need to chill it:
- Place butter in a small saucepan on low-medium heat and stir until it melts completely.
- Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the milk solids turn brown and the butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes longer (or as long as it takes to turn golden brown). Take care not to burn (it will continue to brown even after you remove it from the heat, so take it off early).
- Scrape the melted butter and browned bits into small bowl and chill until solidified (about half an hour in the freezer, an hour or so in the fridge). When ready to make cake, remove from the fridge long enough that the butter is soft enough to be beaten with an electric mixer
- With a hand or stand mixer, combine sugars, vanilla extract, salt and brown butter on medium speed. Mix only until ingredients are thoroughly combined, but by no means light and fluffy.
- Add in the yolks, one at a time then reduce speed to low.
- Add in the flour all at once and mix until homogenous. If you’re comfortable with dough and a pin, you can roll it right away with very lightly floured hands and rolling pin. Otherwise, form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate about 15 minutes to make the it easier to handle. You can refrigerate the dough for up to a week or freeze for several months. Before rolling, set the dough out and let it slowly come to room temperature over a few hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350° F) and lightly grease a 22-24cm loose bottomed tart tin. Dust the counter with a very, very light coat of flour. Roll to 0.75cm (1/3") thickness.Carefully set dough over the tart shell and use your thumbs to press the dough into the corners of the pan. Press the overhanging dough against the edges of the tart pan to trim off the excess and leave the dough flush with the edges. Dock tart lightly with a fork. The dough is extremely forgiving and can be rerolled two or three times, you should be able to press any cracks together to mend them or fill any defects with leftover dough by pressing it gently together.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. After 10 minutes or so, check on the tart. If it has formed an air bubble; use a skewer to gently poke a small hole in the bubble to deflate it. Continue baking until the tart is dark golden brown and firm and dry to the touch. (It is better to slightly overbake than underbake to prevent any raw taste.) Cool in tin for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove from tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Shell can be stored in an airtight container overnight.
1 & 1/2 cups thickened/heavy cream
300g good quality white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla bean extract or scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
About 300g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- Place 1 cup of cream in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Place 1/2 cup cream and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of simmering water, stirring regularly with a whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Whip remaining cream with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Take care not to overwhip.
- Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold the remaining cream into the mixture until combined. Pour mixture into the brown butter tart shell (You may not need to use all the filling, depending on the height of your tart, remember that when you add the cherries on top, the filling will rise slightly). Decorate with fresh cherries.
- Chill tart until filling sets, at least 1 hour. Tart can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for several days.