‘Tis the season to pick your own cherries here in the Orange region. What better way to reward yourself after a nice morning’s picking than this delicious Cherry & Almond Tart.
Deep ruby in colour, cherries are a fun and festive fruit that balances sweetness and acidity and offers cleansing respite from the heaviness of Christmas fare. Cherries are available to pick your own or purchase for farm gates and orchard from now throughout December, or until sold out!
500 gm crème fraîche
100 ml pouring cream
20 gm pure icing sugar, sieved, plus extra for dusting
To serve: fresh cherries

Cherry-vanilla jam
300 gm cherries, pitted
220 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Almond pastry
90 gm natural almonds
250 gm softened butter
110 gm caster sugar (½ cup)
300 gm plain flour (2 cups)

For cherry-vanilla jam, combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches setting point (6-8 minutes; see note), refrigerate until well chilled (1-2 hours).
Meanwhile, for almond pastry, process almonds in a food processor to form coarse crumbs (1 minute). Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, add flour and almonds, beat to just combine. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.

Preheat oven to 180°c. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and line a 20cm x 28cm rectangular fluted tart tin, trim edges and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes). Blind bake until light golden (10-12 minutes), remove paper and weights, bake until golden and crisp (6-8 minutes), cool completely.

Whisk crème fraîche, cream and icing sugar in a bowl until firm peaks form (2-3 minutes), refrigerate until required.

Spread jam in base of pastry case, spoon over crème fraîche mixture, top with fresh cherries, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Bon appetit!