While I brainstormed, I opened the cherry jar and fixed myself a cocktail made from Malibu rum, cherry juice, a couple cherries, sparkling water and a squeeze of lime. That was nearly worthy of a post it was so good. In fact, if you happen to have all those things on hand, you should really go fix yourself a Cherry Malibu Cocktail right now.
Instead I decided on a tart featuring a puff pastry base, a layer of honey sweetened crème fraîche, the cherries of course, and a saucy cherry syrup to finish. This tart does require some steps but is quite simple and pleasant to make, not to mention, the final result is dazzling.
For one tart:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cherry juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon kirsch
- 8 ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 2 cups unsweetened sour cherries in juice (drained, juice reserved)
In a small saucepan stir together the cherry juice, sugar and kirsch over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, until reduced by half and syrupy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheet of puff pastry. Sprinkle lightly with flour and roll out to a dimension of 14" x 10". Moisten a 1/2-inch border with cold water and fold the edges over to create a frame around the pastry. Make sure to press down on all four corners lightly to make sure it's sealed. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Transfer the pastry to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the center of the oven. Bake until just golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.
While the pastry is cooling, whisk together the crème fraîche, honey and almond extract until smooth. Measure out the cherries and set over a colander. Squeeze the cherries gently with your hands to get rid of most of the juice. Reserve the juice for another use.
When the pastry is completely cooled, spread the crème fraîche evenly over it. Scatter the cherries over the top and then sprinkle with the almonds. Drizzle the cherry syrup evenly over the tart, reserving any unused syrup for another use. Serve the tart immediately, sprinkled with some confectioner's sugar if desired.