A luscious layer of fresh cherry and coconut combine in a chocolate pastry shell, smothered in creamy chocolate ganache.
The journey to this delicious Cherry and Coconut Chocolate Tart is a twisty one. I work a full time job and I do most of my cooking for my blog on the weekend. That means that an idea I have on Monday, hastily jotted down on a post it note between processing shipping documents and invoices, has at least 4 days to evolve and morph. What starts out as my mums amazing and simple Strawberry Flan, becomes this Cherry and Coconut Chocolate Tart. Quite a leap huh?
The Strawberry Flan is coming soon, well, as soon as I can get hold of fresh strawberries.
I found me a flan tin and I was all set to make my strawberry flan, just like the ones I grew up with but, alas, there was not a strawberry in sight. What I did find however, was cherries. Plump, red, shiny cherries. As a general rule I do try to cook with what’s in season but unfortunately it’s the wrong time of year here in Oz for cherries. You know where it’s not the wrong time of year for cherries? The good old US of A. And those folks have been kind enough to share their bounty with us all the way downunder. It would be rude not to oblige 🙂 Plus, when something shiny catches my eye, I find it tough to step away – and they were really shiny.
First I thought, maybe I’d try a cherry flan instead. Sounds good. But then I was lining up to pay for my stash of shiny red beauties and what do I see? A cherry ripe. So you see, it’s not such a stretch from Strawberry Flan to Cherry and Coconut Chocolate Tart.
So this Chocolate Tart starts with a lovely, flaky chocolate pastry. It’s a quick, throw-everything-in-the-food-processor type pastry. Processing just long enough to combine everything, but leaving little flecks of butter, is what makes this pastry flaky. If you’re making this tart in Summer (as you probably would be if you were using cherries in season), it’s a great idea to keep the butter in the freezer right up until you add it to the food processor, so that it doesn’t melt into the dough before baking. Keep the dough as cold as you can. Use ice cold water and in Summer I’ve even been know to put the flour in the freezer for 15 minutes before hand to make sure the pastry turns out perfectly.
Other than that tip, this chocolate pastry is easy peasy to make. It’s not very sweet, as it only has a hint of sugar just to put it in the dessert world rather than savoury but that means it remains just a tasty vessel for whatever amazing filling you want to use, rather than competing with them. It cuts perfectly with a spoon as well.
The cherry and coconut filling is reminiscent of a cherry ripe bar. I used my cherries to make a quick cherry jam from scratch. You don’t have to go to those lengths and if you want to speed this up, you could absolutely use a store bought cherry jam but I can’t vouch for the flavour being as amazing as this one. I like to make things myself as much as I can. Firstly because I love cooking so it’s fun for me and secondly because then I know what has gone into the recipe. I know exactly what I’m eating. No weirdo numbers, ya know.
And finally, that soft, luxurious ganache is a combination of dark chocolate (70%) and milk chocolate. Mixed with cream and a little butter, resulting in a silky smooth and creamy ganache.
This is such a lovely tart and fairly easy to put together. I would suggest you leave it out of the fridge for about 1/2 an hour before serving (depending of course on how warm it is in your kitchen) but definitely best when that ganache has a chance to soften just a tiny bit.
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For the Chocolate Pastry
- 150 g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa - note (1)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons icing sugar - note (1)
- Pinch salt
- 120 g (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water - note (1)
For the Cherry Coconut Filling (see note 2)
- 300 g fresh cherries - , pitted
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice - note (1)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
For the chocolate ganache
- 1/2 cup cream
- 100 g dark chocolate - , chopped
- 100 g milk chocolate - , chopped
- 30 g butter
To make the Chocolate Pastry
- Add the flour, cocoa, icing sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and blend until there are only small lumps of butter left. Don’t blend the butter completely as you want those little lumps to create a flaky pastry at the end. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time and pulse until it starts to clump. Turn the dough out to lightly floured surface. Bring it together with your hands and gently knead 3-4 times only. Remember, you want to keep those specks of butter in the dough. Flatten out into a disk, then place in the fridge for half an hour.
To make the Cherry Coconut Filling
- Start by making a cherry jam (see note 2) Roughly chop the cherries, then add them to a saucepan with the lemon juice over medium heat. Let them come to a simmer, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes until they soften. Add the sugar and continue to stir for about 10 minutes until the mixture is very thick. Test by dropping a tiny amount onto a chilled plate – it should set immediately so that you can see the consistency. It should be the consistency of a thick jam. (If it sets too firm, you can always mix through a tiny bit of water to thin it out). Allow it to cool. Place in the fridge until completely cool.
- Add coconut and jam to food processor and process until well blended.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced. Line the base of a 25cm fluted tart tin with a piece of baking paper.
- Roll the pastry dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick. Lay the pastry into the tart tin, gently nudging it into the corners. Roll your rolling pin over top to trim the pastry. Use a fork to dock (or poke little holes) all over the base. Now use another sheet of baking paper to line the tart shell and fill with baking weights (or dry rice / lentils etc). This will weigh down the pastry base so that it doesn’t puff up in the oven. Bake for 20 mins. Take the baking paper and weights out and return the tart shell to the oven for another 10-12 minutes, until the base looks dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- When the tart shell has cooled, spread the cherry coconut mix evenly over base.
To make the chocolate ganache.
- Tip the chopped chocolate and butter into a bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over low heat until it start to bubble at the sides. Pour the cream over the top of the chocolate and butter. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before stirring into a smooth glossy ganache. Pour the ganache all over the top of the cherry filling. Spread it evenly and sit the tart in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.