From the time Esther and Sebastiaan were quite little, as a way of playfully teaching them about food and taste, we used to organize little family tastings. If we grew three different varieties of strawberries, we would have a tasting where everybody picked a favorite and tried to describe why they liked this particular variety best. Food is so much more than calories we consume to sustain our body – it can be the source of one of life’s biggest pleasures, but what we choose to eat and where it comes from has consequences far beyond that. By introducing my children to the taste of real seasonal produce, I hope to lure them on the right path!
They got quite into it and nowadays they themselves insist on organizing an apple tasting when we have several varieties of apples or a dead serious tasting when we get a box of Pierre Hermé macarons.
Last week Esther went to the market to buy cherries and instead of just buying them from one vendor, she bought a pound at three different ones. At home she washed them, put them in separate bowls and each of us had to taste all three. Esther and I agreed that the Dutch grown cherries were the best, less watery and sweeter. Probably because they were not picked prematurely to make long shipping possible?
Most of the cherries we had this year were eaten fresh but to celebrate their short season I also made this tart. Chocolate and cherries are a classic combination for a good reason, but this silky chocolate cream has a “secret” ingredient. At least it would be secret if not mentioned in the title: dark roasted sesame oil is what gives the cream a mysterious nutty note.
Few notes: the recipe calls for just milk chocolate but I substituted part dark chocolate. In any case, it is important to use good quality milk chocolate, one that has at least 34 % cocoa mass. The recipe for the topping makes (in my experience) more than you need to cover the tart. I leave the recipe as written but think that less, maybe even half of the topping might be enough. Since the only sour cherry tree I know of is 750 km and two weeks away, I could only use sweet cherries but am sure that a combination of sweet and sour cherries would be wonderful. If I had any of my home made red currant-sour cherry preserve left, I would have used that, but alas I had to use store bought stuff that is usually too sweet for my taste. Nevertheless, the tart was very, very good as agreed by everyone who tasted it, including my parents who arrived yesterday and were lucky to get the last piece.
But: if you think that baking a tart shell is a little too much, you could also just make the cream and serve it with either fresh cherries or a (sour) cherry compote. There is a recipe for sour cherry compote here.
Milk chocolate sesame cream tart with cherries
From Tea With Bea
Pâte Sablée (enough for 2 tarts)
250 g (1 ¾ cups) all-purpose flour
120 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes and chilled
70 g (2/3 cup) icing sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
Milk chocolate sesame cream
4 egg yolks
350 ml (1 ½ cup) whipping cream
150 ml (2/3 cup) milk
400 g (14 oz) high quality milk chocolate, chopped into pea sized pieces
(or a mix of 300 g milk and 100 g dark chocolate)
1 tbsp good toasted sesame oil
Glazed cherry topping
340 g (12 oz. Jar of morello cherry preserve
80 ml (1/3 cup) water
500 g (1 pound) sweet, neatly pitted cherries
500 g (1 pound) tart but edible cherries, neatly pitted
To make the tart shell:
Put flour and butter into a medium bowl and rub the mixture between your fingertips until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Add the icing sugar and stir. Add the eggs and knead lightly until the dough comes together, but avoid overworking. Cut in half and flatten each piece into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. At this point, you can freeze one disk to use later.
Refrigerate the dough for another minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170 C (340 F).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 5 mm (3/8 inch) thickness). With the help of the rolling pin, lift the dough and transfer to a fluted tart pan of 23 – 24 cm (9 inch) diameter. Smooth out the dough inside the pan. Roll the pin over the pan to trim off excess dough. Refrigerate again for at least 10 minutes (longer is fine).
Line the pastry base with parchment and fill with dry beans. Blind bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry just starts to color. Take out the beans and parchment and bake for 5 minutes more, until dry and light golden.
To make the milk chocolate sesame cream:
Put the egg yolks in a large heat proof bowl and whisk lightly.
Put the cream and milk in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat and heat up. Pour them slowly in a thin stream over into the egg yolks while whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back in the pan.
Put the chopped chocolate in the bowl.
Heat the egg mixture over low heat while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until it reaches 75 degrees Celsius (167 F) measured by a candy thermometer. If you do not have a candy thermometer, wait until the cream begins to thicken and coats the back of the wooden spoon. Pour the mixture through a strainer over the chocolate. Stir until combined and add the sesame oil, stirring again to incorporate it.
Pour it into the prebaked crust and refrigerate until set ( at least 3 hours).
To make the cherry topping:
Put the cherry preserve and water into a medium saucepan and heat until nice and warm nut not boiling. Stir in the cherries and let cool slightly. Pour over the chocolate filling and serve immediately, or chilled.