Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cherry-Brown Butter-Creme Faiche Tart

Choosing dessert for a cherry-themed dinner was easy. I had just read about a tart in The Sugar Cube that can be made with any berries or cherries, and I couldn’t wait to try it. In the book, it’s made with raspberries that are all lined up in neat rows down the length of a rectangular tart. I wanted to do the same thing only with halved cherries instead of raspberries. It worked like a dream. The tart crust was buttery and flaky, and the cherries were juicy and sweet. But, the filling in this tart was the highlight. I thought the mixture would be a tasty middle to hold the fruit in place, but I didn’t expect the level of wow brought on by the vanilla and brown butter. Actually, the butter was melted with vanilla seeds and the pod in it and smelled incredible as it browned. When that fragrant vanilla brown butter was mixed into the filling with creme fraiche, I knew I was going to have a great tart. There is some fussiness to making this tart like making the dough, chilling it, rolling it, fitting it into a tart pan, chilling again, and that sort of thing. I can tell you though, it’s worth the effort.

I made the tart dough by hand as I usually do although the recipe recommends using a food processor. Butter was cut into flour that had been stirred with a little salt and some sugar. Cold cream and an egg yolk brought the dough together, and it was chilled for about an hour. As suggested in the book, I used a four-inch by thirteen-inch, rectangular tart pan. After placing the dough in the pan and docking the bottom, it was chilled in the freezer while the oven pre-heated. The tart shell was blind baked with pie weights for about 15 minutes, the oven temperature was reduced, the weights were removed, and it was baked another ten minutes. Meanwhile, that amazing filling was made with vanilla brown butter, sugar, salt, an egg, flour, and creme fraiche. The baked tart shell was allowed to cool a bit before the filling was added, and then halved cherries were placed in rows, cut side down in the filling. The tart went back into the oven for 25 minutes.

I mentioned before how much I’m enjoying this book, and this was one more reason why. Every recipe I’ve tried from it so far has worked perfectly and delivered delicious results. A dessert with cherries is easy for me to like, but this one topped all expectations.

Raspberry (or Cherry)-Brown Butter-Creme Fraiche Tart
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from The Sugar Cube.

Notice how raspberry is the first word in the title? That’s because this tart is all about the fruit. Yes, there’s a rich tart dough made with egg yolk and cream. And yes, it’s slathered with an amazing filling of vanilla browned butter and creme fraiche. But the filling is more of a flavorful base to support and contrast with all the bright fruit. Now, don’t skimp and use extract instead of a vanilla bean when making the filling. You won’t get the same depth of flavor as you do when you brown the seeds and pod along with the butter. You can, however, feel free to change up the fruit. You can use other berries, or even cherries that have been pitted—just cut them in half and toss with about two tablespoons of sugar.



Tart dough
1 1/4 cups plus
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Brown butter filling
1/2 vanilla bean
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
1 pint (abour 2 cups) fresh raspberries (or cherries)


In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks pale yellow and sandy.

IN A SMALL BOWL, combine the cream and egg yolk. While pulsing, pour the mixture through the feed tube of the food processor. Continue pulsing until the dough forms a ball around the blade.

TURN THE DOUGH OUT onto a lightly floured surface and gather it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk so it’s not too thick and will be easier to roll out, wrap it in plastic, and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.

REMOVE THE DOUGH from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften a bit. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, frequently turning it a quarter turn. (Use a bench scraper to dislodge any areas that stick to the work surface and dust the area lightly with flour.) Roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick and an inch or two longer than the length and width of a 4-by-13-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and gently press it into the pan, including the corners. Roll the rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to cut off the excess dough. Check around the top of the pan and make sure the dough is at least flush with the top, or make it a little higher. Prick the bottom of the tart all over and chill in the freezer until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.

Split the piece of vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Add to a small sauté pan along with the pod and the butter. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the butter darkens to a nutty brown and the solids drop to the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean pod. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the browned butter, making sure to get as much of the vanilla bean seeds and browned bits as you can. (You can save any extra butter for another use.)

IN A SMALL MIXING BOWL, whisk together the sugar, salt, and egg until combined. Whisk in the flour, then whisk in the browned butter and crème fraîche until combined.

PREHEAT THE OVEN to 400°F. Crumple a piece of parchment paper (to increase its flexibility so that it will conform more easily to the shape of the tart shell), then flat-ten it out and fit it into the chilled shell. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake until the sides of the shell look set and golden, 10 to 15 minutes, then gently lift the parchment and beans and remove them from the tart. Reduce the heat to 350°F, and continue baking until the bottom is set and lightly golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer. (If the edges start to look too dark, cover them with strips of foil.) Let cool slightly on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before filling.

SPOON THE FILLING into the prebaked tart shell, spreading it evenly over the bottom with a small offset spatula. Arrange the berries in an even layer on top. Bake on the center rack until the filling has puffed up around the fruit and is golden brown, about 25 minutes. (Again, if edges are getting too dark, cover with strips of foil.)

LET COOL before cutting tart crosswise to serve.

You can use any leftover scraps of tart dough to make mini jam tartlets. Roll it out and cut it into rounds. Drop a dollop of jam in the center of each round, and fold the dough over to make a turnover. Crimp the edges with a fork, chill until firm, and then bake until golden brown.

Taste your fruit. If it’s not very sweet, fold in 1 tablespoon melted apricot jam or seedless raspberry jam. Or use superfine sugar, which is absorbed more quickly.

You can make the filling several days in advance. Let it come to room temperature before you use it, so it will be easier to spread.

I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program.


  1. Brown butter is still a mystery to me but the tart look like something I would have without any doubt :D cherries..yummy!

  2. Perfectly gorgeous tart, Lisa. I love cooking with brown butter and more and more of us are discovering the fabulous makes such a difference.

  3. Despite all the work, this recipe looks amazing. Anything with both brown butter and fruit has my name written all over it!

  4. Simply superb post. Really excellent job with the tart - thorough, well-written recipe. Thank you.

  5. the photography is beautiful, and the food looks amazing! kudos.

  6. oh my gosh that is a beautiful tart! and i bet it tastes absolutely fantastic with those gorgeous cherries, brown butter and creme fraiche!

  7. The tart is just sumptuous! A very enticing photo that will have me trying this recipe soon. Now i just need to decide what fruit to use! The Sugar Cube is moving from the bookshelf to my stack by the couch!

  8. I love how perfectly your cherries have been placed in the tart and all the ingredients are so dellicious and flavoursome :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. Beautiful tart, Lisa... I never made any dessert with cherries, although whenever I see one, I get tempted

    yours turned out picture-perfect!

  10. What a gorgeous tart! Picture-perfect. And it sounds every bit as delicious as it looks!

  11. I love the look of this tart... I need to get one of those deseeders.

  12. What a perfect looking tart. I love how this is a cherry tart - cherry tarts are a favourite of mine xx

  13. This looks so pretty, I love how the cherries are cute!!!
    Delicious in every little morsel, I am sure!!

  14. It's just gorgeous and perfect for any occasion. I just love how pretty it is.

  15. super elegant! i've never bought creme fraiche, and i tried to make it once and didn't fully succeed. for those reasons, i usually stay away from recipe using the stuff, but this is to be bookmarked for sure!

  16. Looks wonderful. The square and rectangle tart pans make it look elegant whereas the rounds ones always look home-y comfort ones to me.
    I have to see if the library has the book, I am trying to curb my addiction of buying cookbooks :)

  17. Everything about this tart sounds incredible. I wish I was as brave as you to turn on the oven in the heat.

  18. I was just thinking if I should make some jam or tart with the cherries. I think, I have my answer :)

  19. That tart looks like it should be on the cover of a magazine. It's truly picture-perfect. You have me intrigued about that cookbook. Gotta get a copy pronto if it's filled with goodies like this.

  20. The cherries are lined up so neatly. I see the "perfectionist" in you :)

  21. That is beautiful! I just love how it baked up with the cherries peaking out. It sounds delicious!

  22. That's a beautiful tart!! I made a cherry tart today as well :)

  23. How did I miss this beauty? I love the sound of the tart- brown butter and creme friache? I'll bet it's wonderfully rich!


Blogging tips