Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cherry Meringue Tart

Cherry picking at my local orchard started yesterday and sure I was crazy enough to carry an umbrella under the light rain and picked myself a total of 3lbs worth of nice cherries while my kids and Curry gave up half way and sat in the car waiting for me to finish up. When come to cherries, I just go a bit crazy like that as they have a very short life span on their trees during the rainy season which can spoil them immediately and of course I just love them after feasting on strawberries for a whole month and time to move on to another summer fruit!

Cherries are more expensive at the stores than other summer fruits and they are a bit of a luxury item compared to blueberries and strawberries. When I was growing up, all I knew was the maraschino cherries in the jar and because of their awfully sweetened taste and piercing coloring of red and green, I didn't like them. Other than for the novelty look on an ice cream sundae, I don't think they serve much purpose. Instead, I love fresh cherries and also dried ones in the packages that are plentiful during the end of the year X'mas celebration where they are included in every type of densed fruit cakes you can imagine.

I followed a recipe from the Good Food magazine, of which I dutifully buy every month at the local bookstore. The quality of the magazine just gets better by the year and the recipes just appeal to me as they are quite easy and the photography is all about the food and nothing else! And of course, the advertisment pages are not over the top as with other food magazines here and like my friend, Mary who pointed out to me that it is amazing on how all the advertisements blend in just like the pages of the recipes in the magazine itself. Don't you just hate it when you open a cooking magazine and you see these drug and medicine companies selling high blood pressure and cholesterol pills or fashion clothings that emphasizes that they have sizes 14 and above??? Sigh..... bad advertising!

I chose this recipe as I have never made a fluffy baked meringue before, partly because I always thought I needed a blow torch to create one and the idea of beating egg whites high and mighty and rushing them into the oven before they deflate! I love the idea on how the cherries are firstly cooked first and soaked in its own cooked down juice before completely cooked inside the tart itself. I started baking with almond meal when I had to use it for Macaron and I love to use it now to bake as the batter produced with this meal seems to always yield a better and softer texture in cakes. I figured hazelnut meal will be a lovely ingredient to use too in this recipe as it is definitely more fragrant and richer than almonds.

I think another teaspoon of corn starch is needed for the cherry juice as I found the juice oozing out when I cut into the first slice. And also, I forgotten to reduce or totally leave out the sugar added to the cherries themselves as it was enough sugar added to the almond meal and the meringue already. Other than that, this tart is lovely on a cold rainy day and served with black coffee. The 3 different textures of the crunchy tart, gooey sweet cherries and soft billowy meringue just complemented each other and same as the cherries, this tart is a stunning one to serve on a formal occasion, provided you serve your guests with extra napkins as the cherries really drip out their juice!

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