Make this black cherry tart recipe and relish in the absolute holiness of the ruby red fruit and her best accomplice: chocolate.
My love for cherries runs deep. And whenever I can feature them in my desserts, I jump at the chance. This chocolate black cherry tart recipe is dense in flavor and strikes the perfect balance between the flavors.
Growing up, I spent my summers on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, where my aunt lived, and every morning we’d stuff a bunch of local cherries into flimsy plastic bags and schlep them to the beach. For six to eight hours every day, in between throwing my body against the waves of the Karadeniz, prancing around with my shovels, backgammon racket, buckets, and other seaside accessories flailing left and right, and chasing whatever friend or dog crossed as far as the outermost spectrum of my peripheral vision, I fueled my abundant energy exclusively with cherries. I must have gone through several pounds of the plump crimson jewels each and every day.
Today, whenever I cross a cherry, I equate it with exuberance and joy. Sure, my associations are nostalgic in nature, but there’s a lot to be said of the fruit’s ability to rejuvenate the body (nutritious AF) and soul (better sleep!).
Chocolate Cherry Tart Recipe: Nutritional Breakdown
A traditional tart recipe involves a white flour and butter-based crust as well as a white sugar-based fruit filling. Even though fresh fruit is often featured in traditional tart filing, the presence of white sugar can override any expected nutritional benefits. This tart recipe, however, doesn’t take away from the cherries’ health perks. Instead, it magnifies them!
Cherries are nutrition powerhouses and are particularly praised for their high antioxidant content. And while cherries may indeed live up to their free-radical-damage-reversing reputation, they offer so much more than that! One cup of fresh cherries contains 51 calories, 1.6 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein, 180 milligrams of potassium, 26% of the RDA of vitamin A, and 17% of the RDA of vitamin C. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, quercetin, hydroxycinnamates (phenolic compounds), potassium, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and melatonin (phytochemical). They may also help to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s.
Cherries have a high antioxidant activity, induce a low-glycemic response, inhibit COX 1 and 2 enzymes (these guys cause an inflammatory response in the body), and bear other anti-carcinogenic effects.
According to 2012 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, cherry juice “provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.”
To keep up to par with cherries’ inherent glory, this tart recipe takes every opportunity to be as clean, nourishing, and healthy as possible. The crust is made with coconut oil, lower-glycemic maple syrup, applesauce, coconut flour, tapioca starch, and cocoa powder. The filling is then a simple mixture of black cherries, coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla, and maple syrup. All of these ingredients are a few body-nurturing notches above white flour, white sugar, eggs, and butter.
The result is a tart that is animal friendly, gluten-free, and super yummy. Indulge!
Cherries: Which Ones To Choose
There are more than 50 varieties of sweet cherries, the most popular being the Bing, Chelan, Lapins, Rainier, and Tulare varieties. Sweet cherries are often enjoyed raw or used in baking, such as in this cherry chocolate tart. Darker sweet cherries tend to have a deeper, more intense flavor. Then there are sour cherry varieties, which are more commonly consumed dried, frozen, or blended with other fruit juices.
Sweet cherries are available from May to August, while sour cherries are usually only found for a week or two in the middle of June in warmer areas or as late as July or August in colder regions.
When shopping for this recipe, look for “black” cherries, or sweet cherries that are deeper in color – more vivid red – than the others. To measure freshness, look for shiny and plump cherries that feel heavy for their size, have fresh-looking stems, and show no soft or browning spots. Before using them, be sure to rinse them thoroughly and pat them dry.
Chocolate Black Cherry Tart Recipe
Serves six to eight
For the crust
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup almond milk
For the filling
- 2 cups black cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use coconut oil to grease a tart pan.
For the crust, combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse them together until well combined and starting to hold together. Remove the mixture from the food processor and use clean hands to press it into the bottom and slightly up the side of the tart pan. Pierce across the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place the rust in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
For the filling, in a small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, male syrup, and salt. Arrange the cherries evenly across the tart and pour the chocolate mixture over the cherries.
Place the tart into the refrigerator to set. After an hour or two, garnish the tart with a sprinkle of coconut flakes. Let the tart sit for 15 to 20 minutes to soften slightly before serving.