I was so scared the other night for about five minutes.
Scared that I missed cherry picking in western New York. I casually went to the online picking schedule of one of the farms I frequent and saw that they were offering u-pick raspberries and blueberries. Both of which I like very much, yet now what I was looking for. I hurriedly scanned further down the page, only to see that cherry u-pick had been wiped out by July 4th 😦
Ok, there are other farms with cherry orchards… yup. None of which had any cherries left to be harvested. I had almost given up when I saw a link to a farm I had never heard of up by lake Ontario about 45 minutes away. A farm specializing in cherries. Why I have never heard of “singer farms” before? Upon calling the following morning, I was happy to hear they did indeed have quite a few cherries, tart and sweet, available to pick.
What an awesome place! Not only were the orchards bountiful, beautiful and nicely kept, they have a quaint specialty shop on the premises with local honey, lotions, kitchen gadgets and other offerings from their land (scooped myself up two varieties of garlic straight from the earth that i had never heard of- bavarian purple and Pennsylvania dutch).
What an awesome morning and early afternoon spent with a good friend exploring the grounds and eating our way through rows and rows of cherries. I highly recommend cherry picking, especially at singer farms if you happen to ever be in the western NY area in early July.
And of course, it’s easy to get overly enthusiastic while picking these beauties off the trees. MY share weighed in at over 8 pounds, mostly of the tarts, so I guess it’s time to figure out what to start making with these bad boys!
I thought about making a pie and decided against it since I’ve done that a few times already. I may still get to that with this harvest but for now, I started with something new.
(This recipe is based on one I found at relish.com but with some adaptations of my own)
Ingredients for pasty crust: (this crust is awesome!)
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Zest from one small or half of one medium to large orange
- Small glass of ice water
Directions for crust:
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor. pulse to combine.
- Add butter and orange zest and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal
- Add 1 to 2 tsp ice water (1/2 tsp at a time), pulsing until the dough just comes together. it will still look kind of like crumbs
- Dump out of bowl and quickly shape into a 4-inch disc (don’t work too much as the heat from your hands will melt the butter in the dough)
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. the dough will keep in the fridge for a couple of day at this point if you are making it ahead.
- Take dough out of refrigerator and roll into a 15-inch circle on a well-floured surface. if the dough rips or cracks apart, press it gently back together with your fingers
- Using the rolling pin, gently roll the dough over the pin to help transfer it to a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
- Gently press dough into the pan and up the sides. you can decide to use the edges to cut the extra dough from the edges, or let it drape over and then fold it over the filling later on for a more rustic look. i opted to cut off the excess dough this time.
- Put crust back in the fridge while you prepare the filling and preheat the oven
Ingredients for filling:
- 4 1/2 cups pitted tart cherries
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar (this tart is on the tart side so if you want it sweeter, go a full cup on this one, or add a pile of whipped cream at the end 🙂 . i like tart personally… though i do enjoy whipped cream…)
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- Juice from half an orange (just a squeeze, don’t go crazy or your filling will be too watery)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
Directions for filling and pie assembly/baking:
- Preheat over to 375F and position oven rack in the center position
- Combine cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, almond, and orange juice.
- Spoon into chilled pastry crust (fold over edges of dough if necessary)
- Bake about 50 minutes, beginning to check at 40 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly (i placed a sheet pan on the shelf beneath the tart incase of boil over- which luckily didn’t happen)
- Cool on wire rack, and remove from tart pan if desired after completely cooled
- Sift confectioners sugar over pastry before serving.
- Store, tightly wrapped at room temperature
*I made two- I adjusted ingredients for 1 and a half times and used an 8 inch and a 9 inch tart pan (because those are what I had at the time). I did have to significantly increase baking time because of this
*As noted above, this is meant to be on the tart side. You can use sweet cherries instead if you prefer, but I find they tend to loose a lot of their flavor when cooked. you could increase the sugar in the filling (just note the filling might end up a bit looser), add whipped cream or lots of powdered sugar at the end