What do you get when you combine a dark, chocolatey biscuit base, creamy white chocolate and mascarpone filling and fresh, tart cherries? These Choc-Cherry Tarts – a dessert that’s made in heaven, that’s what.
Remember the gluten-free chocolate cookies I presented in the last post? Well, here they are in the tart base. And can I just say… wow – these little beauties certainly earned their keep in this recipe! Their deep dark, intense chocolate flavour contrasted beautifully with the white chocolate filling.
I found this fabulous recipe on Woolworths Online.com.au. However, as I wanted a gluten-free version, I adapted the crumb base, using home-made gluten-free cookies instead of store-bought ones. I also baked the base rather than simply refrigerating it, as I wanted to ensure it didn’t crumble – a common scenario with gluten-free products. I’m happy to report that it worked a treat, also providing a nice crunchy contrast to the rest of the dish. And while the tart cherries did a wonderful job of balancing the sweetness of the dessert overall, I did find the filling a tad too sweet for my liking. Next time, I might add some orange zest to it just to round out the flavours a bit.
This dessert represented a real coup for me – adapting a gluten-based recipe into a gluten-free one without compromising on taste or texture. It’s a darn good feeling and I’m still basking in the after-glow!
- 250g (8.8 oz) plain chocolate biscuits (or use this Gluten-free Chocolate Cookie recipe and halve it)
- 125g (4.4 oz) butter, melted
- 800g-1kg (28 oz – 35 oz) cherries
- 2 Tbsp kirsch (or brandy)
- 1/4 cup icing sugar, divided
- 150g white chocolate
- 300g (10.5 oz) mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cream, whipped to soft peaks
- Lightly grease 8 x 10cm (3-4 inch) (mine were 11cm) fluted, loose-based flan tins. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Process biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add melted butter and process to combine (use only enough butter to bind the mixture together when pressed between the fingers). Divide mixture between tins and press firmly over bases and sides. Freeze any left-over crumbs for a delicious dessert topping.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes – the aroma filling the kitchen will let you know when it’s ready; be careful not to burn them. Take the tarts out of the oven and leave them to cool on a wire rack. When sufficiently cooled, transfer them in their tins to the fridge to firm up.
- Meanwhile, pit cherries and transfer to a bowl. Add kirsch, 1 tbs of the icing sugar and stir to combine. Set aside, stirring occasionally.
- Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and put aside to cool a little.
- Beat mascarpone and remaining icing sugar in a separate bowl until smooth.
- When the chocolate is cooled, add it to the mascarpone and whisk well till combined. Fold in the whipped cream. If not using immediately, refrigerate.
- Drain the cherries, retaining the liquid (if you don’t have enough liquid for serving purposes, you can always add a little orange juice and/or extra kirsch). Add the liquid to a small saucepan on a moderately low heat and stir for a minute or two at a gentle simmer until the juice thickens slightly. Reserve for serving.
- Take the biscuit bases out of the fridge. Carefully remove the bases from the tins (I set the tins on an upturned glass and gently pull down the tin sides) and set on serving plates. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the cases. Top with cherries and drizzle with a little of the cherry syrup to serve.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting