Fresh Cherry & Toasted Almond Tart
9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons plus cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh sweet cherries, such as bing
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the almonds in the oven at 350 degrees until light brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
In a food processor, pulse graham crackers, 1/2 cup almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground.
Add butter, and process until combined.
Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
Using the base of a dry measuring cup, firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan.
NOTE: I used a 10 inch pan, as that was all I had.
I figured that with the addition of the almonds in the crust it would still be okay.
However, after pressing the mixture into the pan, it seemed a bit thin.
So I would strongly recommend using the 9 inch pan.
Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
While the tart shell is baking, it would be a good time to pit the cherries.
I do not have a cherry pitter, so using a small knife, starting at the stem end I sliced around the cherry and sort of twisted half of it off the pit, sort of like when you slice open an avocado.
Then using my fingernail I pried the pit loose from the second half.
Trust me it's not as labor intensive as it sounds.
It goes quite fast.
I worked up to five cherries a minute.
Once the cherries are pitted, move on to the cream cheese filling.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
Gradually add cream, and beat until soft peaks form; spread mixture in cooled crust.
Scatter cherries on top.
You could neatly lay the cherries in rows of concentric circles, which looks really pretty, but I decided to just sort of topple them all haphazzardly onto the filling.
It's a little more 'rustic.'
In a small saucepan, combine jam and 1 teaspoon water; heat over low until liquified, about 2 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, dab cherries with glaze and then scatter over the toasted, sliced almonds. Refrigerate tart at least 30 minutes or, covered, up to 1 day.