Aaaah, summer - when swimming, picnics and barbecues take centre stage. The season of drowsy days filled with bright light, warm breezes and the glorious colours of stone fruit. Blushing peaches and nectarines, golden mangoes, startling red chunks of watermelon and jewel-like shiny cherries just begging to be bitten into.
Chocolate? Now there’s a combination to think about…
That’s how I came up with this tart – using a chocolate pastry base, a mascarpone cream filling, and a topping of stewed cherries. It was a pretty simple dessert to put together and highly portable. We took this along to a barbecue, I made each component ahead then assembled the tarts when we got to our destination. The resulting tarts looked great and I didn’t have to worry about them breaking apart during the journey.
Hope you’re enjoying some warmth wherever you are.
For the tart shell, I used a basic shortcrust pastry base and swapped some of the flour for cocoa powder.
The mascarpone cream filling is similar to the one found here, with vanilla to flavour instead, and minus the cherries.
For the cherries:
2 cups cherries (pits left in, they hold their shape better this way)
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
juice of half a lemon and a slice of lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick
Place all the ingredients in a pan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir from time to time. When cherries are just tender (about 10 minutes or so), remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep simmering the leftover liquid until thick and syrupy (be careful not to overdo it or you’ll end up with toffee). I stored the cherries and the thick syrup separately. The cherries were kept in the fridge and the syrup at room temperature. When needed, place some mascarpone cream into a tart shell, top with a few cherries then drizzle with the syrup.