Cherry and Almond Cake – an English teatime classic!
This Cherry and Almond Cake fills me with nostalgia! It is a homemade version of the shop-bought cake that I remember from my childhood and which made a regular appearance at teatime. Even if you don’t have similar memories, there is something particularly traditional about this cake. It is the kind of cake that you would expect to be served on a China plate by your grandmother in front of an open fire with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea.
I love the glossy red glace cherries which look beautiful and give the cake nuggets of juicy sweetness. They may be a bit retro but it’s that kind of cake. I try and use the natural dark red glace cherries rather than the bright red dyed ones.
The combination of cherry and almond flavours is a classic. Almond and cherry trees are both members of the Prunus family and have a strong flavour affinity. Other members of the Prunus family include plums, peaches and nectarines and all these fruit combine well with almonds. In fact, almond extract is often made from the stones of these fruit because they have a stronger almond taste than actual almonds!
This Cherry Tart recipe brings together luscious fresh cherries with a sweet frangipane filling, made with ground almonds, set in a crisp pastry case. It lovely served warm but is just as good at room temperature. This makes it a brilliant addition to picnics. The fruity sweetness of the cherries supported by the more substantial almond filling is just want you want after a day in the fresh air!
You can use any kind of fresh, seasonal cherries for this Cherry Tart recipe. I particularly like using the dark red-purple cherries. Cherries come in all kinds of colours from yellow through to dark purple. If you are lucky enough to have access to more than one type, you could get really creative with the decoration. I would love to try an “ombre” effect like this one from Loko kitchen which has some really inspiring designs.
As an alternative, you could try my Apricot Tart which has the same pastry and frangipane elements, just topped with a different fruit. This makes it very easy to double the ingredients for the pastry and frangipane and make both!
This luscious tart, made with fresh, seasonal cherries set in a frangipane base encased in crisp pastry, is fantastic eaten at room temperature so makes a great addition to picnics or cold buffets.
For the pastry:
275 g plain flour
125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
Salt and pepper
A little water
For the filling:
140 g golden caster sugar
140g ground almonds
140 g butter
1 tablespoon kirsch
300 g fresh cherries
1 tablespoon cherry jam
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
Roll out your pastry and use it to line a 19 cm quiche or flan dish. Bake for 5 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”. This will stop the filling making it soggy!
To make the filling, put the sugar, ground almonds and butter in a bowl and beat using a food processer or hand blender until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and kirsch and continue to beat until incorporated into the mixture.
Spoon the filling into the pastry case and smooth down the top with a knife.
Wash the cherries. Cut each cherry in half and remove the stone.
Place the cherries, cut side down, on top of the filling.
Place the tart in the oven and bake for around 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven. While the tart is still hot, use a pastry brush to add a thin coating of cherry jam on the top. This will make enhance the appearance of the tart by making the fruit look shiny and also add an extra boost of flavour.