"After many years of decline as so many ancient cheery orchards were cut down for arable farming and pasture, these wonderful deep red, stoned fruits are back on many menus and here to stay. If you like to eat cherries, I suggest you buy a cherry stoner as life is too short to remove all the stones by hand! I love the old fable that many of our ancient roads around Britain are lined with cherry trees as the Roman soldiers spat the stones out on the way north and the trees still survive."
45 minutes prep, 1 hour cooking
For the pastry:
120g butter, unsalted
60g icing sugar
220g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Extra flour for sifting
For the frangipane:
150g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
50g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
A pinch of salt
A splash of cherry brandy or kirsch, optional
A tablespoon of flaked almonds
250g washed, and stoned cherries
Crème fraîche or clotted cream to serve
To make the pastry, rub together the sugar and butter until creamed. Then add the egg a little at a time and then fold in the flour a little at a time too. It will seem a tad wet but will harden once chilled. Wrap the pastry in cling film and store in the fridge for 20 minutes. Once chilled, remove from the fridge and roll the pastry on a floured surface until 3mm thick.
Line a well-greased and floured bottomless 12'' tin with the pastry. Remove the overhanging edges and leave to rest again whilst you make your frangipane.
Heat the oven to 165°C.
To make the frangipane, beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the almonds gently and then the flour. Slowly incorporate the eggs, then add the salt and the liquor and mix well.
Pour a third of the frangipane mix into the pastry-lined tart case. Then add the cherries to the remaining mix and add this to the tart case. Smooth over with a wet palette knife and sprinkle over a few slithers of flaked almonds and bake for 45 minutes then check and bake for a further 15 minutes if required. Your knife should enter easily and exit clean with only cherry juice on it.
Allow to cool slightly then remove from the tin and serve warm with dollops of crème fraîche or thick clotted cream.