- 30 gram unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon kirsch or brandy
- 500 gram fresh cherries, seeded
- 375 gram packet carême butter puff pastry, thawed (see test kitchen tip)
- 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
- 3/4 cup (180ml) water
- 4 egg whites
- 1Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
- 2Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying pan (21cm base, 25cm top) with an ovenproof handle. Stir in the cinnamon and sugar until combined, then stir in the kirsch. Cook, stirring, over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture turns a rich toffee colour. Remove from heat; add the cherries to the pan.
- 3Roll pastry out slightly larger than the frypan size, if needed, and trim to a 26cm square. Place pastry over the cherries; tuck the edge of the pastry around the cherries. It’s essential to tuck in the edges to hold the caramel sauce. Prick top of the pastry a couple of times to allow steam to escape.
- 4Bake for about 25 minutes or until pastry is well-browned and crisp. Remove from oven; stand for 5 minutes before inverting onto a heatproof serving plate.
- 5Meanwhile, to make the meringue; stir the sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Add a sugar thermometer to the pan; bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 118°C or firm ball stage. To test if the syrup is ready without a thermometer, drop a teaspoon of syrup into a glass of cold water. Gather the syrup with your fingers – it should roll into a pliable sticky ball. As the syrup is getting close to temperature, whisk the egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, add the hot syrup in a thin stream. Whisk mixture for a further 8 minutes or until cool, thick and glossy.
- 6Spoon meringue over the tarte. Brown meringue lightly with a kitchen blow torch. To brown without a blow torch, bake in the oven at 250°C (230°C fan-forced) for about 1 minute.
Not suitable to freeze or microwave. Carême pastry is available from some delictessens, greengrocers and gourmet food stores. Follow the packet directions to thaw. If unavailable, stack two sheets of ready-rolled butter puff pastry and continue with the recipe.
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