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.
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.
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.)
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.
Put a large baking sheet in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F.
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.
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.
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.
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!