I’m typically not the type to kiss and tell, but it’s time for a little girl talk. It’s time to dish about the hot and steamy activity that recently went on in my kitchen with me and the firm-fleshed, deliciously sweet Bing.
In summers past, I enjoyed Bing in the raw with nothing between us. Popping him one-by-one into my mouth, his tight skin popping with every gentle bite followed by the immediate release of Bing’s sweet juice, was the purest level of perfection one could share with another. I was always left craving more. My appetite for Bing was insatiable. I felt addicted to him and the satisfaction he provided.
I still do.
But the time came to move my summer crush along toward something more permanent. It was time to turn up the heat and really let the juices sizzle. I knew what needed to be done, and I was anxious to smell the perfume of Bing’s juices spilling from every pore and scenting the air with a wine-like sweetness. It was definitely a big step and one that I was both nervous and excited about. There was a risk. What if Bing wasn’t able to rise to the occasion? What if Bing became mushy, weak or syrupy? The last thing I needed was a limp or runny result. Our future was hanging in the balance.
Now I usually keep matters of the heart to myself and away from girl gossip, but my escapades with Bing were just too incredible not to share. I was so impressed with the Bing’s prowess. I clearly underestimated him and wish I hadn’t waited so long. The Bing was adept, skillful and clearly knew how to handle the heat I generated beneath him. Shortly after we got started, the Bing’s juices were quick to thicken and he stayed firm throughout the hot and steamy 7-minute romp. The pleasure of seeing him maintain his firmness from start to finish was pure joy. Yet there was a down side: Bing needed some time to cool off before I could touch him again. I let him rest and before long he was the most spoon-worthy guy I ever met.
But being the little tart that I am, I wasted no time in convincing him to get all over me.
This is a gorgeous seasonal dessert that can be made in stages and assembled at the last minute. If you find yourself with a surplus of Bing cherries, I won't tell if you double the jam portion of the recipe. It's excellent!
- 500 gm creme fraiche
- 100 ml (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) heavy cream
- 20 gm (2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) powdered sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- 300 gm (about 2 cups) Bing cherries, pitted
- 220 gm (1 cup) granulated sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 90 gm (about 3/4 cup) raw almonds
- 250 gm (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 110 gm (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour
- For cherry-vanilla jam, combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches setting point (6-8 minutes; see notes), 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 (see notes).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch and line a 7.5-inch x 10-inch rectangular fluted tart pan, trim edges and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes). Blind bake until light golden (10-12 minutes), remove parchment paper and weights, bake until golden and crisp (6-8 minutes), cool completely.
- Whisk creme fraiche, cream and powdered sugar in a bowl until firm peaks form (2-3 minutes), refrigerate until ready to use.
- Spread jam onto base of pastry, spoon creme fraiche over jam, top with fresh cherries, dust with powdered sugar and serve.
To test for jam's setting point, place several small plates in the freezer before you start cooking the jam. When the mixture becomes thick, remove from heat, spoon a little onto a chilled plate and return to freezer for 30 seconds. When you draw your finger through the mixture it should hold a trail. If it doesn't, cook for 1-2 minutes longer and test again.
I was happy to put my kitchen scale to use for this recipe and tried my best to give you US equivalents. I strongly suggest you use a scale instead of relying on the conversion measurements. Flours weigh differently and using a scale insures the most accurate results. If you choose to make this without using a scale, it is best to spoon the dry ingredient into a measuring cup and level off with the backside of a knife.
I purchased 2 tubs of creme fraiche from Trader Joe's. It was pretty close to the required amount of 500 grams. It's about $4 per tub. If you search Google for homemade creme fraiche, you will find numerous easy methods to make it at home. I found the amount of creme fraiche topping to be double the amount I needed based on the measurements given above. I would suggest making half the amount. I was not feeling mathematically inclined to halve the US measurements provided.
The pastry is basically a shortbread. It came together very easily in the mixer, but when it came time to roll it out and move it to the tart pan, it became crumbly and troublesome. I ended up having to move it in sections and pressed it together. I would recommend placing the pastry between two sheets of parchment, rolling it to the desired thickness and placing the (papered) pastry onto the backside of a baking sheet before putting it into the refrigerator to rest. This way, the pastry will be ready to set on top of the tart pan. Simply remove the parchment sheets from the pastry, allow it to settle into the tart pan as it reaches room temperature, then gently press it in, trim the edges and return to the refrigerator as per instructions in the method above. There will be enough pastry left over to freeze for another use.
A 9-inch round fluted tart pan can be substituted.
This recipe can be made ahead and assembled just before serving. If assembled too far in advance - say the day before - the edges of the creme fraiche will begin to take on the color of the jam.
Cherries decorating the top of the tart have not been pitted.
Cook time does not account for chilling, resting and cooling periods.
Recipe adapted from Australia's Gourmet Traveler Magazine (via their website).