Sour Cherry Tarts with Mascarpone Filling
Sour cherries, the elusive summer fruit, go perfectly with this mild mascarpone filling. If you can't find sour cherries (which is more likely than not), use fresh black cherries or frozen ones that have been thawed and drained.
This is a super simple and refreshing, summery dessert. The graham cracker crust feels nostalgic and kid-like, and the mascarpone feels sophisticated -- so you're getting the best of both worlds. Some recipes for similar tarts have you cook the cherries into a quasi-jam, but I really like keeping them crisp and fresh. Tossing them with some brown sugar and lemon zest takes the edge off of the sourness, and also releases some of the liquid from the cherries to keep the tarts from getting soggy.
Makes 3 mini (3") tarts and 2 muffin-sized tarts (as I did), or 1 9" tart
Graham Cracker Crust
12 graham crackers (6 1/2 ounces), finely ground (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup/50 grams sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cherries, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Make the graham cracker crusts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.
Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake until crust is fragrant and edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Prepare the cherries: In a small bowl, gently mix halved cherries with brown sugar and lemon zest. Set aside.
Make mascarpone filling: Beat mascarpone and cream with sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl using cleaned beaters until mixture just holds stiff peaks.
Assemble tarts: Gently remove tart shells from pans, running knife around edge to loosen. Fill each tart with about 1/3 cup of mascarpone filling and spread evenly. Top with cherries, placed cut side down. Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve!