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Sour Cherry Tart

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A pretty fluted pastry shell, delicate sour cherries, and a splash of orange liqueur combine to create this delicious Sour Cherry Tart. One of the best cherry desserts you’ll ever try, this cherry tart recipe truly awakens the taste buds with just the right balance of tart and sweet. The cherry tart filling is made using canned sour cherries so you can enjoy this dessert all year round!

a slice of sour cherry tart

Sour Cherry Tart

Like 99% of the rest of the world, this year we celebrated Easter at home — no gathering at our church, no Easter egg hunt with the nieces and nephews, no be family dinner. Even so, we worshipped at home with the rest of our congregation online and gave thanks for our health and safety during this safe at home season.

Then, we enjoyed a lovely, intimate dinner with this delicious Sour Cherry Tart for dessert. Perfect for the occasion, we each enjoyed a slice (or two!) with a dollop of homemade sweetened whipped cream — so, so yummy!

Which are tart cherries?

In the United States, the most popular sour cherries are Montmorency tart cherries grown in Michigan and Wisconsin. When harvested, they are bright red and retain their beautiful color even when dried, canned, frozen, or juiced. Unlike darker, sweet Bing cherries, tart cherries are… well, art. Even so, they are quite popular, especially in sweet-sour desserts like pies and today’s Sour Cherry Tart.

ingredients for sour cherry tart

How to bake sour cherry tart

Let’s start with the crust. Unlike a regular pie crust which is flaky, a tart crust is more like shortbread and slightly sweet. The dough needs to chill for an hour before you start assembling the tart, so plan ahead.

You can make the dough up to 24 hours ahead of time, but if you do this allow at least 30 minutes for the dough to set outside of the refrigerator before you roll it out.

To make the crust, add flour, powdered sugar (for the sweetness), salt, and butter to the bowl of a food processor and mix until you have coarse crumbs — just a few pulses will do the job.

Add and egg yolk, vanilla extract, and a couple teaspoons of heavy cream and process just until the dough starts to come together. Dump it into a large resealable bag and squeeze the dough together to form a disc that’s about a half inch thick. Let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour, then roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/8-inch thick.

I use my rolling pin to carefully lift the dough and overlap it on my tart pan. If the dough tears a little, don’t worry. Just use your fingers to gently press it back together and into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim off any excess and you’re ready to make the filling.

sour cherry tart ready to go in the oven

Now, for the filling — this part truly is easy as pie! Drain two cans of tart cherries and place them in a bowl with a cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and two tablespoons each of tapioca (for thickening) and orange liqueur. Let this set for 10 minutes, then pour it into the crust and bake. So simple!

How to thicken cherry tart filling

One easy way to thicken the filling is by using instant tapioca as the thickening agent instead of using flour or cornstarch. The advantage of using tapioca is that the little pearls trap moisture as the filling gels and help prevent the pastry from becoming soggy. 

Sprinkle tapioca over the filling and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then pour into the tart crust and bake. As it bakes, the tart’s surface becomes slightly shiny and the tapioca pearls will be visible as well.

sour cherry tart on a wire rack

To make this recipe, you may need…

To make a tart with a fluted pastry, I use this tart pan that also has a removable bottom. Once the tart cools, simply push the bottom of the pan up and the side releases a perfect pastry.

sour cherry tart on a wire rack
  • Rustic Apple Tart. A super-easy, extra-flaky homemade pie crust with harvest apples — the perfect Fall dessert!
  • Rustic Cherry Tart. A Summer dessert that any novice baker can master.
  • Mini Coconut Key Lime Pies. Homemade coconut graham cracker crusts are filled with tart key lime pie filling and served with a dollop of whipped cream.

Let’s bake!

This cherry dessert is delicious served with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream to balance the sour cherries. My family really loved this dessert when I first served it on Easter, and agreed it definitely deserved a repeat!

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Yield: 8 servings

Sour Cherry Tart

sour cherry tart on a wire rack

A pretty fluted pastry shell, delicate sour cherries, and a splash of orange liqueur combine to create this delicious Sour Cherry Tart.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Tart Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Cherry Filling

  • 2 14.5-oz. cans sour or red tart cherries, drained (in water)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca, quick or instant
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur

Instructions

Tart Crust

  1. Add the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and heavy cream and process on low just until a dough begins to form. Empty the mixture into a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and press together to form a round disc about 1/2-inch thick.
  3. Seal and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Lift the dough with the rolling pin and transfer gently to the tart pan, pressing into the sides and trimming any excess from the rim.


Cherry Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on the bottom rack to catch and drips from the tart.
  2. Empty the drained cherries into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, tapioca, salt and orange liqueur. Stir gently to combine, then let set for about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the filling into the tart crust and dot the top with the butter. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
  4. Cool for at least 3 hours before removing the tart pan to allow the filling to set. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Notes

I use my rolling pin to carefully lift the dough and overlap it on my tart pan. If the dough tears a little, don’t worry. Just use your fingers to gently press it back together and into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim off any excess and you’re ready to make the filling.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 403Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 227mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 3g

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