French Cherry Tart Recipe: A Classic Dessert with a Modern Twist

french Cherry tart recipe

Introduction to French Cherry tart recipe 

The French cherry tart recipe, known as “tarte aux cerises,” is a beloved dessert that combines a delicate, buttery crust with a rich, sweet-tart cherry filling. This classic French pastry has been enjoyed for generations, delighting both the eyes and the taste buds with its beautiful presentation and luscious flavor. Whether served at a sophisticated dinner party or enjoyed as a simple family treat, the French cherry tart recipe embodies the elegance and tradition of French baking.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the origins and history of the French cherry tart recipe , explore the key ingredients that make it so special, and provide step-by-step instructions to help you create this delightful dessert at home. From selecting the perfect cherries to mastering the art of making the pastry crust, this article will equip you with all the knowledge you need to bake a perfect French cherry tart. Join us as we uncover the secrets behind this timeless classic and bring a touch of French patisserie into your kitchen.

History and Origins of French cherry tart recipe

The French cherry tart, or “tarte aux cerises,” has a rich history that dates back to the early days of French patisserie. This delightful dessert has its roots in the grand tradition of French baking, which emphasizes the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients and meticulous techniques to create beautifully balanced flavors.

Historical Background: Cherry tarts likely originated in France during the medieval period, a time when fruit tarts and pies were commonly made in both savory and sweet varieties. As cherries became more widely cultivated in Europe, they were incorporated into various desserts, including tarts. The use of a sweet pastry crust (pâte sucrée) filled with fresh cherries became a popular way to showcase the natural sweetness and tartness of the fruit.

Regional Variations: Different regions in France have their own variations of the cherry tart recipe . For example:

  • Alsace: Known for its rich cherry harvest, Alsace is famous for its simple yet delicious cherry tart recipe made with a basic shortcrust pastry and fresh cherries.
  • Provence: In Provence, cherry tart might include a hint of lavender or almond extract, reflecting the local flavors and culinary traditions.

Key Ingredients

Creating a perfect French cherry tart recipe starts with selecting the right ingredients. Each component plays a crucial role in achieving the desired texture and flavor.

Pastry Crust:

  • Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte Sucrée): This sweet, buttery dough is the traditional base for French tarts. It’s made from flour, butter, sugar, and egg, resulting in a tender and flavorful crust.
  • Alternative Crusts: For a different texture, you might use puff pastry or sablé breton (a Breton-style shortbread).

Cherry Filling:

  • Cherries: Both sweet and sour cherries can be used, depending on your preference. Sour cherries provide a tart contrast to the sweet crust, while sweet cherries offer a more uniform sweetness.
  • Sugar: Adjust the amount based on the type of cherries used. More sugar is needed for sour cherries.
  • Cornstarch: This helps to thicken the filling and prevent it from becoming too runny.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a touch of acidity to balance the sweetness.
  • Almond Extract: Optional, but it enhances the flavor of the cherries and adds depth.

Frangipane (Optional):

  • Ingredients: Almond flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and almond extract.
  • Use: Spread a layer of frangipane over the pastry crust before adding the cherries for a rich, nutty flavor.

Step-by-Step French Cherry Tart Recipe

Here’s a detailed recipe to guide you through making a classic French cherry tart recipe from scratch:

Preparing the Pastry Crust:

  1. Ingredients:
    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • A pinch of salt
  2. Instructions:
    • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
    • Add butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    • Add the egg and mix until the dough comes together.
    • Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    • Roll out the dough on a floured surface and fit it into a tart pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for another 15 minutes.

Making the Cherry Filling:

  1. Ingredients:
    • 4 cups fresh or frozen cherries (pitted)
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  2. Instructions:
    • In a saucepan, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
    • Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and the cherries are tender.
    • Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Let the filling cool.

Assembling the Tart:

  1. Instructions:
    • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
    • Pour the cooled cherry filling into the prepared crust.
    • Optionally, create a lattice top with extra dough.
    • Bake for 40-45 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Cooling and Serving:

  1. Instructions:
    • Allow the tart to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
    • Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Cherry Tart Recipe Guide: Fresh, and Frozen Cherry Options

Tips for Perfect French cherry tart recipe

Achieving the perfect French cherry tart recipe involves a few key tips and tricks:

Choosing the Best Cherries:

  • Sweet Cherries: Best for a naturally sweet filling.
  • Sour Cherries: Provide a tart flavor, often requiring more sugar.

Baking Tips:

  • Even Baking: Rotate the tart halfway through baking to ensure even browning.
  • Avoiding Soggy Crust: Blind bake the crust if necessary and use a baking stone for even heat distribution.

Storage Tips:

  • Storing Leftovers: Keep leftover tart in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Refrigeration can cause the crust to become soggy.

Variations and Enhancements

Cherry Tart Recipe Guide: Fresh, and Frozen Cherry Options

Classic French Cherry Clafoutis: Clafoutis is a traditional French dessert that, while similar to a tart, has a unique preparation and texture. Originating from the Limousin region, this dessert typically involves baking cherries in a flan-like batter, resulting in a custard-like consistency that’s both creamy and slightly firm.


  • Fresh cherries
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the Cherries: Pit the cherries and spread them in a buttered baking dish.
  2. Make the Batter: In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, milk, cream, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Combine and Bake: Pour the batter over the cherries and bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 45 minutes, or until the clafoutis is set and lightly browned on top.
  4. Serve: Let it cool slightly and serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar.
Cherry and Almond Frangipane Tart: Adding frangipane to your cherry tart recipe introduces a rich, almond-flavored cream that pairs beautifully with cherries. This variation adds depth and a delightful nutty flavor to the classic tart.


  • Almond flour
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Almond extract
  • Fresh or frozen cherries


  1. Make the Frangipane: Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then mix in almond flour and almond extract until smooth.
  2. Assemble the Tart: Spread a layer of frangipane over the prepared pastry crust, then add the cherry filling on top.
  3. Bake: Bake the tart at 375°F (190°C) for 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is set and the crust is golden.
Rustic Cherry Galette: A galette is a freeform tart that is easier to make than a traditional tart and has a charming, rustic appearance. This version allows for more flexibility and a casual presentation.


  • Puff pastry
  • Fresh cherries
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Lemon zest
  • Vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the Filling: Toss cherries with sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
  2. Assemble the Galette: Roll out the puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pile the cherry mixture in the center, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the edges of the dough over the cherries, pleating as you go.
  3. Bake: Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Serving Suggestions

Garnishes and Toppings:

  • Powdered Sugar: A light dusting of powdered sugar adds a touch of sweetness and visual appeal.
  • Whipped Cream: Freshly whipped cream provides a creamy contrast to the tart cherries.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla ice cream enhances the dessert’s flavor and adds a delightful temperature contrast.

Pairing with Beverages:

  • Coffee: A cup of rich coffee complements the tartness of the cherries.
  • Tea: Serve with a light, floral tea, such as Earl Grey or chamomile.

Nutritional Information and Health Considerations

Calories and Nutritional Benefits: Cherries are a low-calorie fruit that is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. A typical slice of cherry tart,  however, can range between 250-350 calories, depending on the ingredients and portion size.

Healthier Alternatives:

  • Gluten-Free Crust: Use almond flour or a gluten-free flour blend to make the crust suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • Vegan Adaptations: Replace butter with a vegan margarine and use a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water) instead of a regular egg.
  • Reduced Sugar: Opt for natural sweeteners like honey or agave syrup, or simply reduce the amount of sugar used in the filling and crust.

Adding a Touch of Decadence

For those looking to elevate their French cherry tart recipe to a more decadent level, consider incorporating a layer of chocolate ganache between the pastry crust and the cherry filling. This addition not only enhances the tart’s flavor profile with rich, velvety chocolate but also provides a delightful surprise with each bite. To make the ganache, simply heat heavy cream and pour it over finely chopped dark chocolate, stirring until smooth. Allow it to cool slightly before spreading it over the pre-baked crust, then proceed with adding the cherry filling. This small yet luxurious twist transforms a classic dessert into an indulgent treat perfect for special occasions.

Exploring Seasonal Variations

Cherry tart recipe are incredibly versatile and can be adapted to include other seasonal fruits, making them a year-round favorite. In the summer, pair cherries with fresh berries like raspberries or blueberries to create a vibrant, mixed-fruit tart. During autumn, consider adding a layer of spiced apple or pear slices beneath the cherries for a cozy, warming dessert. These variations not only highlight the flexibility of the cherry tart recipe but also allow bakers to experiment with different flavor combinations, keeping the dessert exciting and fresh throughout the year. By embracing seasonal produce, you can continuously reinvent this timeless classic to suit any occasion.


French cherry tart recipe are a delightful dessert that combines the flavors of fresh cherries with a buttery, flaky crust. By following this comprehensive guide, you can create a classic French cherry tart recipe that will impress your family and friends. Experiment with different variations and ingredients to make this timeless dessert your own.

For more delightful recipes and baking tips, check out our Ultimate Dessert Recipe Guide. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, cherry tarts are a rewarding and enjoyable dessert to make and share.


What is a French cherry tart recipe ?

A French cherry tart, or “tarte aux cerises,” is a traditional French dessert featuring a sweet pastry crust filled with fresh cherries, often with a layer of frangipane.

Can I use frozen cherries in a cherry tart recipe ?

Yes, frozen cherries are a great alternative when fresh cherries are not in season. Thaw and drain them before use to avoid excess moisture in the tart.

How do I store leftover cherry tart recipe ?

Store leftover cherry tart recipe in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. For longer storage, refrigerate the tart, but note that the crust may become slightly soggy.

What is the difference between a cherry tart recipe and a cherry pie?

A cherry tart recipe typically has a shallower crust and is often made with a sweet pastry dough (pâte sucrée) and an open top, while a cherry pie has a deeper crust and is usually covered with a top crust or lattice.

Can I make a cherry tart recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the pastry and filling ahead of time. Assemble and bake the tart just before serving for the best texture and flavor.

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