This fresh cherry tart with cream cheese filling is an easy dessert made with a citrus and almond pastry crust that’s filled with sweetened whipped cream cheese and crowned with fresh summer cherries.
I love fresh cherries! As a university student, I had a casual job in an extremely busy department store. My favorite part of the day was walking across the mall to a fruit and veg shop to buy a small bag of cherries on my lunch break.
Many years later, this fresh cherry tart with cream cheese filling recipe has become one of my favorites. I actually can’t bear the thought of cooking this beautiful fruit, so this dessert has fresh cherries as the hero ingredient.–Ann Reardon
Cherry Tart FAQs
What’s the best way to pit a cherry without a special tool?
Take a sturdy straw (we like using a stainless steel or a hard plastic straw) or a decorating tip and poke it into the cherry where the stem attaches. You can work over a bowl, or a wine bottle like one of our clever testers, and continue poking the fruit until those pits pop right out of the bottom.
Are almond meal and almond flour the same thing?
They’re generally interchangeable, but the difference is this: almond meal is made from unpeeled almonds and almond flour is made from blanched ones. There’s a difference in grain size as well.
Can I make my own almond meal?
Absolutely. You’ll need almonds (unpeeled) and a really dry food processor. Simply add the nuts to the bowl and blitz away – pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice. Stop as soon as you get a fine crumb – blitzing too much will make almond butter.
Can I use frozen cherries for this tart?
We don’t recommend it. Our testers found that thawed frozen cherries didn’t hold their shape as well and didn’t deliver the same flavor. Stick with fresh fruit here.
Fresh Cherry Tart with Cream Cheese Filling
- 14- by 5-inch (35- by 13-cm) rectangular tart pan with removable bottom
For the almond pastry
- Zest of one lime or lemon (1 teaspoon) preferably organic
- 1 stick (4 oz) salted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 1/3 cup almond meal or almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the cream cheese filling
- One (8 ounce) block of full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons superfine (caster) sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
For the fresh cherry topping
- 2 pounds fresh cherries pitted
- 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Make the almond pastry
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Using an electric hand mixer, in a medium bowl, whisk together the zest, butter, and confectioners’ sugar until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the egg white. Mix in the almond meal and then finally the flour. Keep mixing until it just starts to clump together, about 1 minute more.
- Press the dough together with your hands to form a ball, then place it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to be slightly bigger than the size of your tart pan.
☞TESTER TIP: If you find the dough is too stick to work with, pop it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling out.
- Remove the top layer of plastic. Using the plastic underneath to support the pastry, lift it up and flip it over onto the tart pan.
- Gently press into all the corners, then remove the top layer of plastic. Use a knife to trim off the excess pastry from around the edge. Line with parchment paper and place ceramic baking weights on top of the paper.
☞TESTER TIP: If you’ve got extra pastry leftover, bake it in muffin pan wells for individual tarts.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and baking weights, then continue to bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely in the pan.
Make the cream cheese filling
- Using an electric hand mixer, in a large bowl, whip the cream cheese and sugar together until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Pour in the vanilla and half of the cream and whisk well. Add the remaining cream and continue to whisk until thick and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Remove the pastry shell from the pan and place on a serving platter. Mound the filling in the center and use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly.
Make the fresh cherry topping
- Add a layer of cherries neatly in rows to cover the filling. Then stack a second layer of cherries on top.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the jam in the microwave until it is runny, about 30 seconds. Use a pastry brush to brush a layer of hot jam over the cherries. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
What a beautiful way to celebrate fresh cherries. This impressive dessert can be made in about an hour, can be made ahead, and is so refreshing for summer.
The most work you will have to do is pitting the cherries. I do not have a cherry pitter, so setting the cherry on a bottle and pushing the pit through with a chopstick was my method. I found that 1.5 pounds of cherries was sufficient for my tart pan.
The pastry is very wet, similar to cookie dough, so definitely follow directions and roll between plastic or parchment paper. The recipe makes a generous amount of dough. My only critique is that the final crust was perhaps too thick, but that is just personal preference. It tastes like a yummy, not too sweet lemon sugar cookie. Also, the crust came out of the tart pan with no problem.
I did use seedless raspberry jam to glaze the cherries as directed as it melts smooth and clear. For serving I melted cherry jam with a couple tablespoons amaretto to drizzle over. This brings home that sweet cherry flavor.
I made this early in the day and by time for dessert after dinner the crust was still crisp and the cream filling still smooth and fluffy. So good served with an espresso and a small glass of amaretto over ice! This would be beautiful using fresh peaches glazed with peach or apricot preserves as well.
What a delectable way to pay tribute to cherry season with this fresh cherry tart with cream cheese filling. I love the combination of cherry and lime so I chose to add lime zest to the crust which was a winning combination in my book. It could be fun to add a little zest to the filling too.
The most time-consuming part of the recipe was washing and pitting the cherries which I prepared while the crust was baking. I ended up with extra dough that I baked in a mini muffin pan for 15 minutes and then filled with extra filling and topped with one cherry on each.
Two layers of cherries lay atop a fluffy cream of not so sweet cream cheese filling that stays fluffy even after being chilled. This is a dessert to impress guests that is as delicious as it is beautiful.
I had a few reservations about this fresh cherry tart recipe, mostly relating to the preparation of the crust and the blind baking of the crust and the quantity of the cherries for the topping. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
It is a delicious tart which showcases the flavor of fresh cherries. The use of the lemon zest in the crust plays nicely with the flavor of the cherries. The cream cheese filling is not too heavy and does not overpower the other flavors.
Originally published July 11, 2022