Two of my very favourite things are in season right now. Cherries and lilacs. To celebrate I thought I’d combine the two.
I made you a Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart and planted my very own lilac bush.
The latter was no easy task. Let me explain.
First you must know that you should consider me a frugal person. Not cheap. Frugal. If I can spend little to no money on anything I’ll go for it. Who wouldn’t, right? There are things I do not scrimp on. Cream cheese for one – why anyone would put anything other than Philadelphia in their mouths is beyond me. Eyeglasses – Gucci, Armani, Versace yes please. Laptops – sorry, but I’m not going to let an off brand hard drive anywhere near all my photos, videos and documents for fear they might spontaneously combust.
Pretty much everything else is up for grabs. All the clothes hanging in my closet were either very reasonably priced or very much on sale. I compare prices on flour. All the boxes in my pantry are generic brand or the next best thing.
So you can understand why I was not about to spend money on something like a lilac bush when they grow free and wild. I was also not about to be caught cloak and dagger in my neighbour’s backyard absconding with their precious lilacs, pail and trowel in hand. So we took a drive. A long drive. And wouldn’t you know, the further we got outside the city the less and less prevalent the tiny little flowers became. We drove down muddy roads, over potholes and through neighbourhoods we had no business being in. No luck and no lilacs.
So after all that we ended up spending less money on a lilac bush at the garden center than we spent on gas to fuel our little adventure. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a lilac thief.
Biting into this delicious tart makes me feel loads better though. At least I have that.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart
Makes 1 12 inch tart
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 hazelnuts, blanched, toasted and ground fine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp hazelnuts, blanched, toasted and chopped
1 cup sweet cherries, pitted
Note: To make it easier to grind the hazelnuts blend them in a food processor with the powdered sugar. That way they stay dry and won’t ball up.
In a food processor pulse together the flour, cocoa powder, ground hazelnuts, powdered sugar and salt. Barely cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg a little bit at a time, pulsing briefly after each addition. The dough will appear granular at first and after a few 10 second pulses it will clump together.
Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it ever so slightly so it holds together. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to roll out the tart shell take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit for about 10 minutes to take a bit of the chill off. Butter a 12 inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and set it aside. Sandwich the dough between 2 large sheets of wax paper and roll it out into a 15 inch circle. Rolling it out with wax paper helps you avoid sticky dough, messy flour, reduces cracks and makes it easy to turn it over into the tart pan. Once the sheet of dough is centered in the prepared tart pan press it into the corners of the pan and fold the excess dough back over the sides to create a nice strong double edge crust, making sure to keep the dough level with the edge of the pan. Pierce the dough a few times with a fork and freeze it for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit it buttered side down tightly against the inside of the tart shell. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake it for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake it for another 10 minutes. Transfer the tart to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
To make the ganache put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. In a small sauce pan combine the cream and butter and heat it on medium heat. When it comes to just a boil pour it over the chocolate, cover it and let it sit for 3 – 5 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate until it all melts and you’re left with a smooth pudding like consistency. Pour it into the cooled tart shell and smooth it out with a spatula. Top it with cherries and chopped hazelnuts. Enjoy!