Cherry season is short and fleeting and something we anticipate all year. So don't hesitate to make a fresh cherry tart and homemade vanilla ice cream the moment these vibrant and sweet gifts of summer hit your grocer's shelves.
Generally we don’t make such a fuss over any dessert, but the cherry season is so unreasonably short, we always feel we have to make the most of it. A handful of recipes—muffins, upside-down cake and tart—are ready to go at the first sign of cherries.
We remember bringing a cherry tart, still warm from the oven, and a tub of vanilla ice cream to a Fourth of July potluck supper. Grownups hurried through their meal just to get in line for dessert. Ordinarily well-mannered people were seen licking their plates. And when the pan was empty, one man went back to the table with his spoon to scoop up the last of the juices. A fresh cherry tart can do that to people.
If you have ever made a fresh cherry tart, you know the most important tool in your kitchen arsenal is a cherry pitter. In a pinch, a paring knife or even a paper clip will do, but the best thing is a cherry pitter. With one quick snap of the plunger, the pit pops out. The only downside to pitting cherries, if you can call it that, is by the time you’ve punched out the last pit, the kitchen looks like it’s been under attack. Cherry juice is everywhere. It stains the sink, runs down your arms and stays under your nails long after the tart is gone.
Even so, it’s a small price to pay for the delicious pleasure that comes from eating a homemade cherry tart.
—By Jean Kressy, a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.
This rustic, overstuffed tart makes enticing use of the summer's bounty of cherries. Try it with Ranier cherries, too.