Cherry Gazpacho

There is nothing more satisfying on a hot, muggy Iberian night than gazpacho.  And I have already professed my love of cherries, so that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.  A gorgeous, sexy, luscious cherry gazpacho.

Actually, there are many, many variants of gazpacho.  Of course there is the typical tomato, then there’s Salmorejo, which has bread and less vegetables than gazpacho, there’s Ajoblanco, made from almonds, olive oil and garlic, and then there is the myriad of variations of tomato gazpacho….melon gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, the list could go on and on.

For cherry gazpacho, I don’t like to add onion or garlic, since you want to enhance the taste of the cherry, not overpower it.  I also omitted the cucumber, because there are some people who prefer not to have it in gazpacho altogether.  Instead, I chose just to use cherries, tomato, yellow pepper (because it is slightly sweeter than red) and lemon instead of vinegar.  I think that lemon gives it the perfect acidity it needs, and it is also sweeter and balances better with the cherries.  When it is done, you will have this gorgeously hued soup.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

About 450 g of cherries, pitted.

Half a yellow pepper, chopped, two tomatoes, chopped and one lemon.  Then about 3/4 cup olive oil, and salt to taste.

Bread cubes, fried in a little bit of olive oil.

Place the pitted cherries, chopped tomatoes and yellow pepper into a blender or glass for immersion mixer.  Add the olive oil.

It’s really important you add the olive oil to the vegetables BEFORE blending, because if not, it won’t emulsify.

Blend, and then add your lemon and salt, tasting to see if it needs more of either.  I always squeeze half of the lemon first, and then if it needs more, I will do the rest.  Also, if it is too thick, add some more olive oil.  It should be quite liquidy…..gazpacho is NEVER chunky.

Strain, with a chinois if you have one, to make sure you have no seeds or skin.  Chill for at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Garnish with the bread crumbs, or you can improvise, add some crumbled feta, some toasted sesame seeds, some sprouts…..make it your own!

Sit outside, sip your gazpacho, and ponder the universe.  Or enjoy it with friends and family.

From my kitchen to yours,


Summer Cherry Tart

It’s cherry season!! Cherries. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  Ok, ok…..I won’t.  But boy are they amazing.  Little tiny morsels bursting with sweet, tart juice.  I could eat them all day.  But strangely enough, I hardly ever cook with them.  Well, not strangely enough, they don’t last enough in my fridge to make it into any dessert.  I eat them like popcorn.  They’re addictive, and healthy.

But, I wanted to make a sort of pie with them, no, a more fancy version.  A tart.  Oui oui, I wanted to go all fancy on them, give them the sophistication they deserve.  Hence I came up with this, it’s not a clafouti, and it isn’t a pie….it’s a tart with a baked custard.  But the custard isn’t overpowering so that it won’t let the full flavors of the cherries shine through.  I wanted them to be the starring role, not the side-show.  I love this dessert because it isn’t overly sweet.  And the crust has just the right amount of saltiness, and it melts and crumbles in your mouth.

It’s great for tea time, (if you still do that) or for a light dessert.  You can add a little crème anglaise, or some vanilla ice cream, but I love it just the way it is.  (Cue Billy Joel).

I have to say, the crust is the most confounding thing.  In french it’s a Sable, which basically means it’s a b*tch to work with.  It’s kind of like a short crust, so when you’re rolling it, you have to be extremely patient and careful…..cause this sucker is like a petulant child, tearing and breaking at a whim.  But the final result is well worth it.  Just make sure to keep your work surface dusted with plenty of flour, your hands and rolling-pin too.   And the amount of liquid, it’s better to add a small amount first, then continue adding tsp by tsp…because if you add too much, then you’ve reached a point of no return with this dough.

Ok, so if that last paragraph didn’t scare you and you still want to give this a whirl, here’s what you’re going to need”

Short crust dough (recipe follows)

1 egg

40 g flour

40 g butter, melted and cooled

1 tbsp Kirsch (or cherry liqueur)

30 g sugar

75 ml of cold milk

1 Vanilla pod, cut lengthwise

450 g pitted cherries

Powdered sugar for dusting

In a medium bowl, crack your egg and add your flour, mix but not too much.  Add the melted butter and Kirsch, then add your sugar and milk.  Scrape the vanilla seeds into your mixture.

Roll out your dough into a 1/4 of an inch disk, and make sure it is an inch larger than the tart pan you’re going to use.  Put it in the fridge and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg celsius, and with a fork poke the bottom of your dough, cover with parchment, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove your weights, and bake another 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 200 celsius.  Arrange the cherries on the crust, and cover with your milk mixture.  Bake for about 25-35 minutes, the top should be a golden brown and when you insert a knife it should come out clean.  Place over a rack to cool, then remove the sides of the tart pan and let it cool to room temperature.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Short crust dough recipe:

250 g flour

150 g butter, chilled and cut into squares

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp cold milk (more if needed, but tsp by tsp)

In a large bowl place the flour, salt and butter.  With a pastry cutter, or your fingers crumble until you get a wet sand texture. Add the egg and milk and form dough into a tight ball.  If it is too crumbly, add a little more milk.

Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

From my kitchen to yours,