Cherry Almond Torte

June 23, 2010
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves about 10
Author Notes

This torte is my new go-to sour cherry dessert. The filling is like tart jam: not too sugary, and not at all runny, thanks to cooking it down a fair amount before adding the cornstarch. The crust, made with part almond flour, is reminiscent of linzer torte. It’s rich and flavorful, but only faintly sweet. It’s a bit more crumbly than pie crust — and, admittedly, a bit harder to work with — but sweet and tangy cherries sandwiched between two layers of this crust is like a grown-up, more sophisticated thumbprint cookie, and worth the effort. - Rivka —Rivka

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Rivka is a healthcare consultant by day, and a food blogger by night.
WHAT: A rich, delicious, and not-too-sweet way to showcase summer's sour cherries.
HOW: The filling is cooked down on the stove, then poured into an almond flour-based crust and baked.
WHY WE LOVE IT: As Rivka says, this is reminiscent of those thumbprint cookies we all grew up with -- but more sophisticated and, at the end, more fulfilling. If you can't find sour cherries, you can use dark sweet cherries and adjust the sugar to your taste. This would be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a cup of coffee.
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the crust
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • For the cherry filling
  • 2 pounds fresh sour cherries, rinsed and pitted
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  1. In the bowl of a food processor (recommended) or stand mixer (works too), beat together butter and 1/3 cup sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat or mix egg into butter mixture, then add vanilla and mix to incorporate. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour, almond flour, salt, and zest until mixture just comes together to form a dough.
  2. Halve dough and form each half into a disk. Wrap disks in plastic and chill until firm, at least 1 hour, more if the weather is warm. (Dough softens quickly, and can be quite sticky; if dough gets soft at any point, a 20-minute stint in the fridge will make it more workable.)
  3. Meanwhile, make filling: heat 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then add cherries with juices and sugar and simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. (Cherries will exude more juices.) Transfer a couple tablespoons of the cherry mixture from the pan into a small bowl, and add cornstarch, whisking to form a thick paste. Continue to simmer cherry mixture until cherries are tender but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Then stir cornstarch mixture and lemon juice into simmering cherries and boil, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Transfer filling to a heat-safe bowl and put in fridge. This will make more filling than you need; you can bake the rest in ramekins, or save it for next time.
  4. Put a large baking sheet in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F.
  5. While cherries are cooling, remove one piece of dough from fridge and roll out between 2 sheets of floured wax paper into a 12-inch disk. Remove top sheet of paper and invert dough into 9-inch tart pan. Trim overhanging dough so edge of crust lies flush with edge of tart pan. Prick shell with fork several times to dock in pan, then bake about 15 minutes (no need to weigh it down; it will puff slightly, but when you add filling it’ll shrink back into pan), then remove and set on counter. Spread cooled filling evenly in tart shell.
  6. Roll out second half of dough on floured workspace without wax paper to 12-inch disk, then use cookie cutter to cut scalloped circles (or other fun shapes) out of dough. Top cherry filling with dough cut-outs in overlapping pattern. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar over top layer of dough.
  7. Transfer torte in tart pan onto baking sheet in oven until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling, about 30-45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, to allow juices to thicken. Serve warm or at room temperature. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would really put it over the edge.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Chef Devaux
    Chef Devaux
  • babylemon
  • Midge
  • Rivka
  • Winniecooks
I'm a healthcare consultant by day, food blogger by night, and I make a mean veggie chili. I'm eat a mostly-vegetarian diet, but have a soft spot for meat, especially braised short ribs. And this profile wouldn't be complete without an admission that I absolutely am addicted to cookies and chocolate. Finally, I love the idea of food52 and can't wait to share and read my and others' favorite recipes!

44 Reviews

dickensthedog September 20, 2017
This is a delicious and very pretty dessert! I did make a few changes to the recipe. First, for ease, I pressed in the bottom crust, and for the top crust shapes, I rolled the dough between parchment, peeled off the top, used a cutter for shapes, then froze the whole sheet for a few minutes to harden it prior to removing the shapes. I used a mix of fresh sweet and frozen tart cherries, and I decreased the sugar in the filling to 1/3 cup, which was just perfect. I think that next time, I will up the proportion of almond flour to all purpose flour to highlight the almond flavor and texture a bit more. I may also try making this as a "cobbler" type dessert, omitting the bottom crust, perhaps in individual ramekins.
jk July 16, 2017
found temp:))
jk July 16, 2017
did i miss oven temp
loique July 16, 2017
Yes. 375.
Jim August 29, 2016
Has anyone tried making this with dried sour cherries? is it possible?
wendyy5 April 15, 2016
Hi! Any ideas about getting hold of fresh sour cherries? I could get them in NC but they are not available in the gulf south. Thanks!
P. S. I haven't had much luck searching the internet.
Geo June 18, 2019
I bought a jar of sour cherries in lite syrup at a Mid-Eastern grocery. I added some sweet, fresh cherries. The end result was fantastic.
debbi D. December 10, 2015
Thanks for reminding me about this torte. I'm now wondering how successfully potato starch could be substituted for the cornstarch - could make a terrific and novel Passover dessert!
Chef D. December 10, 2015
fantastic torte design!
debbi D. June 30, 2015
What about using frozen sour cherries so you don't have to do all the pitting? They are always available in the grocery!
babylemon July 17, 2013
Made this and it was amazing!!!! Best dessert I ever ate. Documented here:
loique June 27, 2013
my new go to cherry pie/torte. two this week . I have a sour cherry tree in my yard.. might just have to pick on more pie's worth!!

EM-MV November 19, 2012
I have cans of sour cherries packed in water. Any idea how I can use them in this recipe?
Rivka December 1, 2012
Hey EM-MV, if I were using canned cherries, I would drain them of almost all the water, save a bit of it, and probably cook them just as you would the fresh ones, so they release a bit of the water they've retained. Let us know if it works.
Sarah Y. June 19, 2016
I read that Trader Joes jarred morello cherries are a great substitute. I used those with some of the juice and it turned out great!
babylemon July 9, 2012
Made this torte, and it was a huge success. Used sweet cherries, just because I ran out of time to search for sour. I only used 1/3 cup sugar to compensate. I also totally forgot to add the egg to the crust, and it was fine. Maybe a little more crumbly and harder to handle, but tasted fine. I wish I could upload an image, because it was lovely. :)
Lady T. July 4, 2012
I just made this torte and the crust did not work out. In the end the top of the crust is burnt.
It sounded very different with the Almond flour and the lemon zest but I'm not sure why it did not work out.
Rivka July 4, 2012
Hi LadyTBakes, so sorry to hear this didn't work for you. How long did you leave it in for? In my old oven, it used to take almost the full 45 minutes, but at my mom's house, it was done in 35 minutes flat.
Midge July 1, 2012
What a stunning tart and well-deserved Wildcard!
Rivka July 2, 2012
thank you!
sspm July 1, 2012
In answer to the question about plastic wrap, what about using wax paper -works great for me and compostable or try a glass bowl that is pretty snug fitting but not quite touching upside down on a plate (no plastic cooties at all) or is you use those reusable bags like "reusies" you could try that too

Also, instead of the cute yet intricate stars, i do polkadots -roll the dough into tiny balls and flatten. The irregular sizes look cute too.
Rivka June 28, 2012
My question is for James Ransom. I've been following along with the recent posts on food photography, and looking at the picture you took of this tart, it just POPS. It's stunning. Can you talk a bit about what equipment (lens, flash?, bounces, windows, etc) you used in taking this photo? Would love to understand how to make my relatively muted photo (#2) more like yours.
Winniecooks June 27, 2012
I am jealous. I LOVE sour cherry pie but can only find sweet or Queen Ann cherries in Minnesota. Where DO you find sour cherries??
fiveandspice June 27, 2012
Congratulations on the Wild Card. What an absolutely gorgeous tart!
Rivka June 28, 2012
Thanks, fiveandspice! The one that the Food52ers made is especially gorgeous, isn't it?
TheWimpyVegetarian June 27, 2012
Love this! If I use sweet cherries, any suggestions on the adjustment to the sugar amount? This is perfect for a BBQ we're having at the beach over the holiday weekend!
Rivka June 27, 2012
Hey ChezSuzanne -

If I'm not mistaken, someone tested this for an old-school editor's pick back when I first posted it, and used sweet cherries in lieu of sour. Can't remember who it was; she didn't say she cut the sugar, but if I were guessing, I'd probably reduce to 2/3. Enjoy!
TheWimpyVegetarian June 27, 2012
Thanks Rivka! I'll start with half and work my way up. 2/3 sounds right, but since we're in season, the ones I've been getting have really been sweet. Can't wait to make it!!
TheWimpyVegetarian June 27, 2012
And big congrats on the Wild Card!!!!
MaryMaryCulinary June 27, 2012
Full of sour cherries and not too sweet and gloopy? Sign me up!