Life is just a bowl . . .

Dark, sweet cherries in a vintage ironstone bowl. The cherry-print napkin isn't vintage---I got it from Crate & Barrel maybe a dozen years ago, back when they offered retro-print linens.

Dark, sweet cherries in a vintage ironstone bowl. Mmmmmm! The cherry-print napkin isn’t vintage—I got it from Crate & Barrel maybe a dozen years ago, back when they offered retro print linens.

Raise your hand if you love fresh, sweet, juicy cherries.

Great, now just keep your hand up there, I mean both hands actually, nice and high, while I, um, . . . polish off the last few cherries in this giant bag of Washington state fruit I got in the supermarket.

Yum.

[wipes chin]

Okay, you can put your hands down now.

Fresh cherries have gotta be one the of the nicest things about late summer. (Fresh native peaches have gotta be one of the other nice things!)

And while I could easily eat them out of hand by the gallon, sometimes it’s fun to do a little baking with them, too.

Except I always think that if I wanted to eat cooked cherries, I’d just crack open a can of cherry pie filling. Once you cook them, cherries lose a lot in the color and texture departments.

And what’s the point of getting your hands on fresh yummy cherries if you’re just going to turn them into boring cooked ones?

So I was surprised to find a recipe for Fresh Cherry Tart torn from an old print issue of Everyday Food in my baking binder. Surprised because I couldn’t believe I hadn’t made it yet!

This tart starts with a homemade graham-cracker crust. The middle layer is an uncooked and lightly sweetened cream cheese filling. And on top are those glorious fresh cherries, glazed with jam.

Cherries 5

I haven’t taken it out of the removable-bottom tart pan yet, but it’s still pretty yummy looking!

Not lo-cal, that’s for sure. But if you take it to a party and eat just a little slice, well, it’s not such a hideous diet-buster.

And it’s crazy-easy to make.

Even if, like me, you wreck the graham-cracker crust the first time you bake it because you forget that you used a tart pan with a removable bottom and you accidentally slide your hand underneath the removable-bottom part to move the pan.

I won’t show you a pic of the resulting crumby mess.

(Pro tip from idiot me: put the removable-bottom tart pan on a cookie sheet!)

Here's the glaze getting brushed on. Note the cookie sheet under the tart pan! Slide the whole thing---cookie sheet, tart pan and all---into the fridge to chill, and you won't have a disaster like I did!

Here’s the jam glaze getting brushed on. Note the cookie sheet under the tart pan! Slide the whole thing—cookie sheet, tart pan and all—into the fridge to chill, and you won’t have a disaster like I did!

Next time I’d make a little more graham-cracker crumbs than the recipe calls for. I didn’t think there was quite enough to create a thick bottom crust and sides to support the heavy filling.

Also next time I’ll try using the cream cheese the recipe calls for! I’d had to substitute marscapone instead, because the supermarket was weirdly sold out of cream cheese. The result was softer than I think the chilled cream-cheese filling would be. But it was nicely tangy too.

Still not out of the pan! The vintage cherries tablecloth is a beaut, isn't it?

Still not out of the pan! The vintage cherries tablecloth is a beaut, isn’t it?

I can’t actually show you a picture of my tart out of the pan because it was devoured by six people in about ten minutes.

If your tart lasts longer than that, I’d love to know about it!

The recipe for Fresh Cherry Tart is here.

Happy cherry baking!