I really struggled naming this, because it’s essentially a tarte tatin, but without the tatin. So is it a cherry tarte? No, that’s pretentious looking and doesn’t speak to the caramel-ly, upside down-y situation at hand. So, cherry upside down tart. It’s, um, declarative? In a “yes, that’s what it is” kind of way.
Does it matter? Not really, because it tastes awesome. And it’s easy. Really, really easy. You halve and pit some cherries, caramelize some butter and sugar, pop a pie crust on it and let it do it’s thing. Out comes a wallop of rich, caramelized cherry flavor.
For disclosure: I hate cherries. Or, I thought I did. That syrupy sweet/tart thing, the alien red of maraschinos. Not. A. Fan. So with summer upon me and cherries teaming from baskets at the farmer’s market, I decided to stop whining and do something about my prejudice. I tasted around and found the most delicious cherries at the market, a perfect balance of acid and sugar (you want a lot of both for flavorful baking) and a firm enough texture to hold up to the tarte tatin process. I added butter and sugar, which improves everything, and a dollop of whipped cream. Still warm from the oven, the caramel and cherry juice created a rich, thick sauce that I would drip on anything, it’s that good. Prejudice solved! Guess who’s loving cherries.
So for a perfect summer dessert that you can leave hanging around the kitchen all afternoon (but be careful, people will steal caramelized cherries off the top, they’re just that alluring), try the cherry upside down tart. Delicious, simple, and intensely cherry. Enjoy!
1 1/2 pounds cherries, halved and pitted
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 recipe pie crust, rolled out to 1/8 inch thick.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine the butter and sugar over medium heat until it’s a pale caramel color (about 10 minutes). Take it off the heat and add the vanilla, whisking to combine. Pour it into a pie dish (it’s ok if the butter separates, it’ll get absorbed into the cherries). Add the cherries (it should just crest over the pie dish) and cover with the pie dough and trim the edges so they’re only an inch long. Roll the dough neatly into the dish. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the cherries are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Bring to room temp (if you can wait) and flip onto a serving dish. Served with whipped cream. Enjoy!