Recipe: Sour Cherry and Vanilla Custard Tart

As the weather gets cooler, we start to crave richness and warmth from our food, and nothing gets the internal fires going like a freshly-baked dessert or pastry.

This stunning tart contrasts the fruity sourness of Morello cherries with the rich smoothness of vanilla custard, certain to have you and your lucky guests going back for another slice.

If you’re looking for quality bakeware and baking ingredients, you’ll find them all at your nearest The Essential Ingredient store. Don’t live near a store? Buy online for delivery to anywhere in Australia.


Serves Makes a 20cm tart
90g unsalted butter, cubed, very cold
170mL caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp chilled water
Pinch of salt
250mL full cream milk
300mL single (pouring) cream
1 vanilla bean View
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 sheets gold-strength leaf gelatine View
1kg jar sour Morello cherries in syrup View
1 cup caster sugar

To make the pastry, blitz the flour, chilled butter, sugar and salt in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Working quickly, add the egg yolk and water and blitz again until just combined.

Transfer the dough to a bench top lightly dusted with flour, and bring together gently with your hands (add a touch more water if needed). Shape into a disk, seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Grease 20cm tart tin lightly.

Using a rolling pin, work the pastry gently until 5mm thick. Transfer carefully to tart shell and press into the edges. Use a fork to cover the base of the pastry shell with holes, then refrigerate for a further 30 minutes (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 180C. Scrunch a square of baking paper into a tight ball, then unwrap and line the pastry with it. Fill with ceramic baking beads (or dried beans, or uncooked rice), and blind-bake the pastry for 10 minutes.

Remove the beads and baking paper and blind-bake for a further 10 minutes.

Leave tart shell to cool.

To make the custard, combine cream, milk, vanilla seeds (scraped from the pod with the back of a knife) and the vanilla pod in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until almost boiling. Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of warm milk/vanilla mixture and stir to combine (this gently increases the temperature of the egg mix and helps prevent scrambling).

Transfer yolk mix into milk mix and stir quickly with a rubber spatula.

Place pan back over low-medium heat and stir constantly until mix thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for five minutes. Squeeze water from leaves and add the soaked leaves to the custard mix, stirring until dissolved.

Once custard has returned to room temperature, pour carefully through a sieve into the tart shell. Refrigerate for a few hours until set.

Drain the cherries, reserving 1 cup of the syrup. Combine syrup and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat and let the syrup simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, or until reduced by almost half. Add the cherries back into the syrup, stir to combine and remove from heat.

Once the cherries have cooled and the custard has set, arrange cherries carefully across the top of the tart.

Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

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