This past weekend we were able to spend time with our friends Alex and Sonja of A Couple Cooks.  They invited us over for dinner and I offered to bring dessert.  Then, as often happens, my mind went completely blank of any ideas.  I have so, so many dessert recipes saved and others in my own mind that whenever an opportunity to make just about any dessert I want arises, I don’t even know where to start.  I mulled over ideas, browsed through bookmarks and cookbooks and came up with nothing.  Thankfully inspiration struck in the form of my breakfast – nothing more than a bowl full of beautiful ripe cherries.

I wanted to keep it simple so I started out with my favorite tart dough and made a chocolate version.  I briefly roasted some cherries to enhance their sweetness and bring out their juices.  A generous layer of freshly whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup was all I needed to bring the whole thing together for a fresh yet decadent summer dessert.

I thought it was pretty fantastic, and hopefully Alex and Sonja did as well as a sort of repayment for our kids behaving like little terrors the entire time we were there.  It’s so nice to have local food blogging friends, particularly friends as wonderful as them.  They are amazing cooks, passionate about eating mindfully, talented photographers, and easy-going despite our rambunctious kids.  We are looking forward to growing our friendship further, and I have a feeling you’ll see some blogging collaborations from us in the future!

  • Yield 8 servings


For the tart shell:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
  • ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the filling:

  • 4 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 3-4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

To finish:


  • 01

    To make the tart shell, whisk together the egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside.  Place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Process briefly to combine.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.  (Note: This can just as easily be done with a stand mixer or by hand with a pastry cutter.)  With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.  Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

  • 02

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  (If refrigerated for more than an hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)  Unwrap and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round.  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan.  Mold the dough to the sides of the tart pan and remove the excess off the top.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

  • 03

    Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to middle position.  Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • 04

    Increase the oven temperature to 450˚ F.  Combine the cherries and sugar in a baking dish.  Toss to combine.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cherries have softened slightly and start to release their juices.  Let the cherries cool completely before assembling the tart.

  • 05

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar.  Whip on medium-high speed until medium-stiff peaks form.  Blend in the vanilla.  Spoon about two-thirds of the roasted cherries into the cooled tart shell to form an even layer.  Top with the whipped cream and smooth into an even layer over the cherries.  Spoon the remaining cherries over the top of the whipped cream.  If desired, drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup over the top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.