After what seems like forever, barbecue season has finally arrived. While we’re all aware of the grilling essentials, when it comes to food, one recipe that’s particularly exciting and is this cherry and almond tart, cooked on the barbecue. Taken from the new cookbook from Ben Tish, Chef Director at Soho’s Ember Yard, this dish is an ideal option to impress guests throughout the rest of the summer.
“This tart is great fun to make – and once you’ve mastered it, you’ve got a really versatile base to work with, varying the fruits with the seasons. Cherry and almond is a classic match, though, and this cries out for a glass of something sweet and strong, to wash it down with, such as a Frangelico or Amaretto. Sitting the tart on a soaked wooden plank to cook in the barbecue protects its base from burning.”
You’ll also need a 20cm (8in) nonstick tart (flan) tin or frying pan, a lump of hardwood and a length of soaked wooden plank
Sweet pastry (see below), 1 quantity, at room temperature
Unsalted butter, 125g (. cup), at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
Caster (superfine) sugar, 125g (2⁄3 cup), plus extra for dusting
Free-range eggs, 3
Plain (all-purpose) flour, 125g (scant 1 cup), sifted, plus extra for dusting
Cherries, 220g (1. cups), pitted
Ground almonds (almond meal), 125g (1. cups)
For the Sweet Pastry
Plain (all-purpose) flour, 250g (1 ¾ cups), plus extra for dusting
Icing (confectioners’) sugar, 50g (1/3 cup)
Salt, a pinch
Unsalted butter, 125g (1/2 cup), cut into cubes
Egg, 1, lightly beaten
Full-cream (whole milk), 4tsp
To Make the Sweet Pastry
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl, then add the butter and rub to form rough crumbs. Add the egg and milk and mix to incorporate. Bring the dough together into a ball and dust lightly with flour, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Bring the pastry back to room temperature before rolling it out.
Grease the tin or pan with butter and dust with flour, then put in the fridge to chill. Place a large sheet of baking paper on a work surface and dust with sugar, then sit the pastry on top and cover with another sheet of baking paper. Roll out the pastry between the two sheets of paper to a thickness of about 3mm (1⁄8 in) and with a circumference large enough to line the tin with some overhang. Carefully transfer the pastry to the tin. Don’t worry about any small holes or tears – just patch them up as best you can with a little of the excess overhanging pastry. Press the pastry into the base and sides of the tin, then prick the base all over with a fork. Cover the tart shell with a crumpled sheet of baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Make a frangipane by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (either using an electric mixer or by hand), then beat in the eggs one by one. Finally, fold in the flour and almonds until fully incorporated.
Fill the lined tart shell with baking beans or uncooked rice, then blind bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the base and sides are cooked and crisp but still pale.
Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking. Place the lump of wood to the side of the charcoal to start smoking. (You want the temperature inside the barbecue to be about 180–190°C/350–375°F; regulate with the vents and lid during the baking time, if needed.)
Remove the tart shell from the oven, take out the paper and beans or rice and leave to cool for 10 minutes before cutting away the crust overhang with a small knife. Spoon the frangipane into the tart shell and dot the cherries on top.
Wrap the base and sides of the tin in a double layer of foil to help buffer the fierce heat rising from the coals. Sit the tart on the plank, then transfer to the indirect heat zone and close the lid of the barbecue. Cook the tart for 35–40 minutes or until the crust has browned, the frangipane has just set (a skewer inserted in the centre should come out fairly clean) and the cherries have started to bleed their juices.
Remove the tart from the barbecue and leave to cool for an hour before serving.
This recipe is adapted from ‘Grill Smoke BBQ’ by Ben Tish, Chef Director at Ember Yard (Quadrille, £25). Photography: Kris Kirkham.