Cherry Almond Tart

Soft cherries with kirsch and custard in a buttery almond cookie crust... can you resist?

Patricia Wells is a cooking goddess. Every time I cook one of her recipes, I'm awed by the flawless result. This cherry almond tart is no exception - it is so damned good! If you can get your hands on a pound of cherries, make this tart and you will not be disappointed.  At first glance, the recipe may look laborious, but it isn't hard. With the cookie crust, there is not need to chill and roll out dough - the most intimidating part of most tart recipes.

I never get sick of cherries. Their season so is short and sweet that I enjoy it fully. I don't even feel guilty indulging when Monterey Market has organic cherries from Twin Girl Farms for less than three dollars a pound. I know it is gauche to talk $$, but this deal is too good to deny.


We are eating at least a couple of pounds of cherries a week around here. Usually they are devoured before one can imagine eating them any way but raw. Yesterday we bought an extra pound just to make Patricia Wells' Cherry Almond Tart.

from Patricia Wells' At Home in Provence

  •  8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and then cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground blanched almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (GF folks: use 1 1/4 cup Pamela's Bread and Flour mix)

  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour ( GF: use Pamela's Bread and Flour mix)
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Kirsch

  • 4 more tablespoons ground blanched almonds
  • 1 pound fresh ripe cherries
  • Optional: Confectioner's Sugar for garnish

Making the Crust:

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter sides and bottom of 9 inch fluted tart pan with removable sides.

(If you aren't able to buy finely ground blanched almonds and can only find blanched slivers, go ahead and grind all of your almonds now.)

In a medium sized bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, and 2 tablespoons ground almonds. Stir with a wooden spoon to blend. Slowly add enough flour to make a smooth soft dough (the consistency of soft cookie dough).  You may need less flour than the recipe calls for. Trust yourself.

Place the dough in the center of the buttered tart pan. Using your fingertips, slowly spread our the dough until it covered the bottom and sides of pan. ( No need to weight or prick the dough.)

Bake in the center of the oven for about 10 minutes. The crust should be a very pale golden brown. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Making the filling:

Pit the cherries. I am not big into kitchen gadgets and didn't own a cherry/olive pitter for years. I finally bought one and it makes recipes like these possible. Go ahead get out your pitter or go buy one. It is a nice tool to have around.

 Combine cream, egg, almond and vanilla extracts in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Then add in sugar, flour, 2 tablespoons ground almonds, and Kirsch. Stir to blend.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ground almonds over the bottom of the tart shell to help the crust from becoming soggy.

Arrange pitted cherries in the tart pan in a single layer. Pour filling around the cherries and sprinkle the top with the final 2 tablespoons of ground almonds.

Bake assembled tart in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes. When done, the custard filling should be firm and the crust a nice deep golden brown. Cool on a rack.

Wells suggests sprinkling powdered sugar over the top just before serving, but I found the tart to be perfect without.

I can't imagine why this recipe isn't famous. This is one of the best desserts I have ever made. Thank you Patricia Wells!

Serves 8


  1. This looks so scrumptious, and it's very pretty too! I think I might try substituting amaretto for the kirsch, to bring out the almond flavour even more...

  2. Meg, I think your amaretto idea is a really good one. I am such an almond fan - yum!
    Let me know how it goes for you.

  3. AnonymousJune 05, 2010

    This looks really good. I love the cherry/almond flavor combination. And thanks for the tip on the cheap cherries!

  4. Adrianna from A Cozy KitchenJune 05, 2010

    This is the second recipe in the past two hrs I've seen call for kirsch. I might have to buy it now, since I have two awesome ways to use it. This tart looks so simple and beautiful. Pretty pictures, too.

  5. Wow, this looks incredible. Amaretto definitely sounds like a plan, too. Great photos too, as always :)

  6. Hey Arugulove, isn't Monterey Market amazing? This time of year it is like the garden of Eden!

    Adrianna, I bought Kirsh just for this tart. Now I am looking for other recipes to use it. I keep thinking Black Forest Cake (one of my childhood favorites). I'd love to know about the other Kirsch recipe you found.

    Poire au Chocolate, you would love this tart:) It really was incredible!

  7. That looks amazing! Now I have to get extra cherries. Like you, we seem to eat them all on the way home.

  8. this tart looks so, sooooo good...I made something similar last summer and still remember how amazing it was....although pitting cherries wasn't my favorite part of the process and it seemed like it was taking forever you said, cherry season is short so I should make it again :) and I want to try this recipe!
    to add to the money conversation; last week I bought some Frog Hollow Farm cherries at the Ferry Building farmers market....I could not believe how TASTY they were..... but...$6.5 a pound!!!! ouch.

  9. LHC, it is so worth saving some cherries for this tart. I think you'll love it:)

    M., have you been to Monterey Market? If not, you should make a trip across the Bay sometime. We Bay Area folks are spoiled by so much great produce (like Frog Hollow), but I see MM as being in a league of its own. The freshness and prices are ridiculous - not sure how they do it!

  10. This sounds amazing! Next week at farmers market I'm getting cherries!

  11. Can I resist? Absolutely NOT. I love cherry season, and I eat those lovely fruits right out of hand for as long as I can stand it. But, it's the desserts that really shine. Can't wait for the Door County cherries to be in season... so fabulous.

  12. Your crust looks perfect! In France this is called a clafoutis. Usually they're made without a crust, but I think that part is essential!

  13. Jessica, thanks for stopping by.
    The crust really is an amazing addition to the traditional clafoutis. I get hungry just thinking about the flaky buttery almond flavor.

  14. AnonymousJune 23, 2014

    I have been making this tart for years - I have the cookbook! :) - and found your site when I wanted a hyperlink to share with FB friends.

    1. I've always made this tart with Grand Marnier (I don't keep kirsch on hand). Nobody has ever complained. :)

    2. I have always found that I needed to add water to the crust to get it to hold together properly. After reading this blog entry, I tried just using less flour. Apparently, less flour = excess butter = burning butter all over my oven floor. I'll be going back to using the full amount of flour and water. Or, you could always borrow a trick from America's Test Kitchen's recipe for pie crusts and use vodka, for yielding pliability without the risk of promoting gluten development. Or maybe that's another good use for kirsch/ amaretto/ Grand Marnier. :)

    P.S. Thanks for posting this recipe! :)

  15. Made this yesterday. Crust was lovely. I used less flour and was not sure whether the 8 tablespoons of butter is measured after the butter had melted. I ended up using 10 tablespoons. I didn't have enough dough for the sides so had to make another half a batch of dough. My 24 cm fluted pan might have been too big. I was trying to pit the cherries while the crust was baking and it took a long time for me to pit the cherries (my first time). used a cockscrew, fingers and finally a safety pin. It was a messy affair. What is the best way to do this without a cherry pitter? I used hazelnut meal instead of almond meal and it worked fine. Did not have kirsch but found a bottle of elderberry brandy. The alcohol content for the brandy was much lower than a kirsch so could not taste the brandy. In the end, the tart was delicious! Had it for dessert and breakfast! Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Hi there, glad you enjoyed the recipe and I like that you made it your own.
      - The butter should be measured before melting.
      - I hate to tell you, but I don't know another speedy way to pit cherries - that's why I love my cherry pitter so much. It's worth it for this recipe alone.
      Happy cooking,

  16. Made it, loved it. Ended up using slight less flour than mentioned, baked the base for about 15 minutes rather than 10 and left out powdered sugar on top. Easy enough recipe for a beginner like me. Thank you.

  17. Epic fail for me... Everything turned out well except the crust was glued to the bottom of the flute pan. I buttered and everything. The tart was neither overcooked nor undercooked..
    Any suggestions? Maybe the crust recipe is too dry?

    1. Oh no Liza! I'm so so sorry to hear this. Sadly, I'm not sure what to tell you. It has been a few years since I made this recipe, but I have good friends who make it on a regular basis without any problems.

      One thought... have you every had any issues with your oven temp? I always keep an oven thermometer inside to ensure that the temp is accurate. Having the proper temp of course makes all the difference.

      All best,

  18. This recipe looked fabulous, but alas, it is not yet cherry season here in the mid-west. Toyed with idea of using canned Oregon cherries, but decided, no. This recipe deserves fresh fruit. Our local market did have beautifully ripe pears and thought, pears and almonds are also a great "pairing" - sorry, could not resist. So, substituted quartered, peeled and cored ripe pears for the cherries, 1 tablespoon Williams Pear brandy for the Kirsch and sprinkled top with some Turbinado sugar along with the ground almonds. Kept everything else in the recipe the same. The result was dreamy! A truly luscious tart! Can't wait to try again when cherries are in season, and maybe even blueberries? By the way, love your site! Photos are gorgeous and commentary sincere, entertaining and helpful. Also, recipes are indeed yummy. Many thanks! This is my first comment ever, sorry to be so long-winded.

  19. Oh my, I just made this and it turned out perfectly! What a great recipe. The crust was buttery and crunch, without being hard and the filling was to die for. Thank you for the recipe!

  20. I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! I used frozen cherries as there weren't fresh available and it turned out great.


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