Cherries, Coconut, Cream, Summer

June 19th, 2012

Cherry Coconut Cream Tart on

So I disappeared without leaving word, and came back without making a peep as well. I thought about hanging up a “Gone to BlogHer Food” sign here, but didn’t get a chance to do so before I flew off to Seattle. For those of you that didn’t know, I went to BlogHer Food a week ago  – if any of you went, I hope you had as fun a time as I did!

I was invited to BlogHer Food as a speaker along with Stephanie, my fellow sated collaborator. Together, we assembled a presentation on past and current photography trends, and how to apply them to tell different stories about food. As a first-time speaker at BlogHer Food, I was pretty happy with how we did – we had some great interaction during the talk and we got some great feedback afterwards. I always love going to BlogHer Food because I always meet so many new, amazing people there – not to mention seeing old friends or meeting dear virtual friends for the first time in person.

Cherry Coconut Cream Tart on

I’ve been meaning to pull my thoughts together since I returned and do a proper writeup of the presentation and my BlogHer experience, but it’s been taking longer to get myself back on track than I thought. It’s almost like after the intense physical and mental push to get the first issue of sated published, and then to assemble the BlogHer Food presentation, my mind decided to go into summer vacation mode. After I gave my talk, I had the next few days to enjoy the conference and Seattle, and I took full advantage of it.

I returned home to a to-do list I’d chosen to procrastinate on until I got back, a pile of unwashed laundry, my doggie who demanded attention to make up for lost time, and some gloriously sunny weather – that I decided to enjoy, since the return of summer fog in San Francisco is always imminent. I didn’t quite want to let go of summer vacation just yet.

I live near an elementary school, and I typically pass by it several times during the course of my day. I see parents dropping off their children off in the morning, the kids playing outside at recess, and of course. I walked by the school last week and I noticed how silent everything was – I hadn’t heard the sounds of the school bell or children walking home for a while. And then I realized, of course, that it was summer vacation and school was out.

I don’t have an extended summer vacation planned for this year – probably one of the reasons I looked forward to BlogHer Food so much. No two week Mediterranean honeymoon for me this year! So maybe that’s why I have more vacation fever than usual. When the days turn long and languorous, when the weekend smells of jasmine and cherries and lemonade, who doesn’t want to toss out the datebook and declare summer vacation?

Cherry Coconut Cream Tart on

So I confess that let things slide a bit, just to hold onto that summer vacation-y feeling a little longer. I slept in, I called up friends I hadn’t gotten around to catching up with in a while, I did do the laundry (eventually!), I spoiled the dog a lot, I baked a cherry tart – and almost forgot to take photos of it before I ate it. It was kind of lovely.

It’ll officially be summer tomorrow. Even if you’re not a grade schooler with the glorious prospect of three months of no homework ahead of you, don’t forget to enjoy yourself a bit. That’s what summer’s for, isn’t it?

I do intend to share my experiences in Seattle, and yes, we are back to working hard on issue 2 of sated, never fear! In the meantime, I’ll share this cherry tart I made over the weekend: now that cherries are everywhere, it was a no-brainer to make dessert with them. I used one of my favorite simple tart crusts, and jazzed up a pastry cream with coconut to give it a little more richness and luxurious contrast to the fresh cherries. I also put a layer of cherry preserves on the bottom of the tart shell, to make sure the fruit flavor came through and because it looked pretty.

Happy summer!

Cherry Coconut Cream Tart on

Cherry and Coconut Cream Tart

About 10 servings

Tart Crust

  • 1 cup (140 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup (218 g) coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 g) + 3 Tablespoons (44 g) sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons (14 g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (230 g) heavy cream


  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 1/2 pound cherries

For the crust:

  • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  • Add in butter and pulse until butter is in pea-sized pieces.
  • Combine water and vanilla extract and drizzle over the mixture. Pulse to combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs – it should not be fully combined into a ball.
  • Turn out mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk about 1 inch thick. If you have trouble making it stick together add a few more drops of water. Wrap dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10 inch round (to fit a 9 inch round tart pan), or to fit a 4 inch x 13 inch rectangular tart pan. Ease dough into the pan and press into the sides to form.
  • Chill pan with dough in refrigerator while preheating the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake tart crust for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the pastry cream:

  • Combine 3/4 cup (172g) of the coconut milk with 2 Tablespoons (30g) of sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on the stove over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and bubbles appear on the edge of the pan.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 Tablespoons (44g) sugar in a bowl.
  • Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup (46g) coconut milk in a small bowl and then add to the egg yolk mixture, whisking to combine.
  • Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
  • Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Stir in the vanilla.
  • Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface, and refrigerate until needed.
  • When you are ready to use the pastry cream, whip the cream in a mixer to soft peaks, and then fold gently into the pastry cream to lighten.

To finish the tart:

  • Spread the cherry preserves evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.
  • Spoon the pastry cream on top of the preserves and spread evenly. Fill the tart shell to just below the top; you may have some pastry cream left over.
  • Wash and pit the cherries, and slice in half. Arrange cherry halves on top of the pastry cream. Serve immediately.

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