Festive cheery cherry, berry and almond tart

This stunning tart was inspired by the Christmas edition (Dec. 2010) of Australian Gourmet Traveller and we made it very late on Xmas night – when we clearly did not need anymore food! It was an absolute triumph and quite easy to bake, just a little time consuming. I changed the recipe slightly to make it gluten free and suit what I had on hand, however all due respect must go to the source – and cherry sauce!

Cherry-vanilla jam
300 gm  cherries, pitted
220 gm (1 cup)  caster sugar
Juice  of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1  vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

Almond pastry
90 gm  natural almonds
250 gm  softened butter
110 gm (½ cup)  caster sugar
300 gm (2 cups)  rice flour

500 gm  crème fraîche
100 ml  pouring cream
20 gm  pure icing sugar, sieved, plus extra for dusting
To serve:  fresh cherries, pitted and seasonal berries

For cherry-vanilla jam

  • Combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches setting point (6-8 minutes; see note), refrigerate until well chilled (1-2 hours)

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 rice flour and almonds, beat to just combine. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and line a 28cm round fluted tart tin, trim edges and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes)
  • Blind bake until light golden (10-12 minutes), remove paper and weights, bake until golden and crisp (6-8 minutes), cool completely

For filling

  • Whisk crème fraîche, cream and icing sugar in a bowl until firm peaks form (2-3 minutes), refrigerate until required

To assemble

  • Spread jam in base of pastry case, spoon over crème fraîche mixture, top with fresh cherries and berries, dust with icing sugar and serve

To test for a jam’s setting point, place several saucers in the freezer before you start cooking the jam. When the mixture becomes thick, remove from heat, spoon a little onto a chilled saucer 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. Source: AGT

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