The premise behind the monthly event You Want Pies With That is to make a pie based on a given theme. Then everyone who made a pie can vote for their favorite pie and the baker with the most votes gets to host and choose the theme. This month's host Jacque chose the theme "Nuts About Pie".
The last of the season's sweet cherries are still available in the markets so I wanted to make a tart with them before they're all gone. I knew I could incorporate nuts into the tart crust, but I wanted my pie to be nuttier. Then I found inspiration in a past issue of Bon Appétit - a streusel made with almonds, crystallized ginger and orange zest. I knew it would go perfectly with the cherries. I used meyer lemon zest instead of orange zest and I think it was a good decision. But I am always looking for ways to use up my endless supply of meyer lemons so it was not only a good decision but an easy one.
The crumbly streusel clung to the sweet cherry filling providing each mouthful with the toasted nuttiness of almond, the subtle spice and mild heat of ginger and the floral fragrance of meyer lemon. Even though the almond crust, cherry filling and streusel are magical together, I wanted to scrape off the streusel from the top of the tart and eat it all. Yes, the streusel topping was that good. It would've been a crime not to share something so delicious so I had to show restraint. But believe me when I say I'll be using that streusel to top anything that I can.
Sweet Cherry Tart with Almond Streusel
(makes one 9 1/2 x 1-inch tart)
2 ounces ground blanched almonds
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 ounces (1 cup) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated orange or meyer lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon almond milk (or cream or milk)
2/3 cup sliced almonds
24 ounces sweet cherries, pitted (I used Bing)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Make the dough for the crust:
In a food processor, add the ground almonds and sugar and pulse to combine. Add the butter cubes and pulse about 15 times or until no loose bits of almonds/sugar remain. Add the flour, zest and salt and pulse about 15 times or until the butter is about the size of small peas.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and the cream. Add it to the mixture in the food processor bowl and pulse until the ingredients are just barely incorporated, about 8 times.
Dump the mixture into a plastic Ziploc bag and flatten the dough. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
Roll the dough to an 11-inch dough circle and line a 9 x 1-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the dough so that it's even with the edge of the pan. Patch any holes or tears with the excess dough. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before baking. [Note: If you find the dough too sticky to roll out, you can press the dough into the tart pan with your fingers. Try to get an even thickness. You probably won’t use up all the dough. Excess dough can be baked like a sugar cookie.]
Make the streusel topping:
Blend flour, sugar, crystallized ginger, zest, and salt in a food processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend until coarse crumbs form. Blend in milk (mixture will resemble moist coarse crumbs). Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Stir in almonds. Set aside. [Note: Streusel can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill in refrigerator until needed.]
Make the cherry filling and bake the tart:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400F.
Gently toss cherries, sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Add cornstarch to cherry mixture and toss gently to coat. Place chilled crust on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any possible spills from the tart. Transfer cherry mixture to chilled crust. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
Remove tart from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375F. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over cherry filling. Return tart to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and cherry juices are bubbling thickly, about 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before serving.