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Tarte aux Cerises (Cherry Tarts)

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Cuisine: American French

In the Kitchen With . . . Kelly Wheeler, Dunwoody

Nominated by Heather Wheeler Davis:
"My father, Kelly Wheeler, deserves some recognition and praise for his outstanding cooking ability and innate entertaining sensibility. Married in 1970, my parents were the perfect match, in that my mother was a disaster (sorry, Mom) in the kitchen, and my dad was, well, fabulous."

Hands on time: 15 minutes  Total time: 50 minutes  Serves: 8


    1 prepared pie dough circle (store-bought or recipe for single-crust pie dough)
    1 15-ounce can dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup
    3 tablespoons kirschwasser, divided
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
    2 tablespoons half-and-half
    2 egg yolks
    1 tablespoon Amaretto di Saronno
    1 tablespoon cornstarch


Preheat oven to 400 degrees (with baking stone, if available). Remove one pie circle from the box and microwave on high for 8 seconds; turn dough package over and microwave again for 8 seconds (or roll out homemade pie dough). Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, removing excess dough by patting dough down on the edge of the pan. With moistened fingers, repair any imperfections in the seam of the dough or any small holes or tears.
Strain cherries into 1-quart baking dish, reserving juice. Add 2 tablespoons kirschwasser, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for a few minutes and strain liquid into bowl with cherry juice from the can.
Pour sweetened condensed milk into top of double boiler and place over rapidly boiling water. Add half-and-half and egg yolks, and beat with whisk for one minute. Whisk slowly and continuously over heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in amaretto.
Place tart pan in oven and pour milk-egg mixture into pie shell. Do not scrape pan. With spoon, place cherries evenly in milk-egg mixture. Close oven and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool.
Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1 tablespoon kirschwasser and add to cherry juice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thick and just beginning to simmer. Cool.
To serve, spoon a little sauce on a dessert plate and then add a slice of the cooled tart.


This is an Americanized version of a classic Joel Robuchon recipe. If you don't have a baking stone, prebake the crust for 10 minutes before adding the filling.


Per serving: 318 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 6 grams protein, 43 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 12 grams fat, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 213 milligrams sodium.

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