Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Cherry Ripe Redux

Cherry Ripe Chocolate Tarts
I had a very dear friend visiting from London recently and one of the first things she went for in the food department was a cherry ripe. Funny how you skip straight past the old school favourites when right in front of you, but they are one of the first things you seem to crave on a return trip home to the golden shores. For international readers who may not be aware, the cherry ripe is an Australian confectionary aisle staple, the kind that friendships are formed and lost over. In fact, I'd say they are close to the Tim Tam as part of our national eating psyche. If you can get your hands on one, try one - they are definitely worth it.

In my world, there is only one thing wrong with cherries, and that is they are too expensive. But this dessert just wouldn’t be right if you used anything other than the variety that come in a jar. And hopefully these tarts will stem the craving until the cherry season is properly upon us (not long now).  They are super simple to make, and I’ve added a “touch of schmaancy” so you could serve these as dessert at a more well heeled dinner party should you feel the need to move it beyond morning tea. Its best to use a good quality dark chocolate – it offsets the sweetness of the cherries and coconut beautifully. It’s a dessert that is maximum impact with minimum effort.
In other words, the very best kind.

1 x 300g sheet of chocolate shortcrust pastry (I used Careme)
150g red maraschino cherries + 3 tbsp juice + 6 tsp juice
75g dried cherries
75g dark chocolate
75g coconut
3 tbsp condensed milk

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line 6 pastry tart moulds. Line with pastry and trim to fit. Blind bake for 10 minutes, remove the pastry weights, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. While the pastry shells are baking, add the maraschino cherries with 3 tbsp juice, dried cherries, chocolate, desiccated coconut and condensed milk to a blender and blitz until a rough paste consistency is achieved. Scoop the mixture into the six pastry cases, pressing down gently. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before drizzling over the melted chocolate and 1 tsp of cherry juice per tart.  Best served warm.

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