Cloud Forest Cherry Tart
Ancient variety Nacional cacao beans harvested from the depths of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest are sublime in their red fruit tones, making them a perfect complement to cherries. With the help of fresh cherries, tangy Miel de Cacao fruit syrup, and hazelnuts, the brightness of these fruit flavors transcend "chocolate cherry" expectations to perfectly balance the richness and acidity of deep, dark 77% chocolate ganache.
With all the makings of a Black Forest concoction and more, we put a spin on the classic flavor combo in this tart that sings in its celebration of the marriage between sweet cherries and complex, dark craft chocolate from fine flavor Ecuadorian cacao beans.
1 lb sweet cherries, pitted and halved
½ lb sweet cherries to decorate the top
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon corn starch + 2 tablespoons water
Dark Chocolate Ganache with Miel de Cacao
1 lb Mindo Chocolate Makers 77% Baking Chocolate chunks (4 oz for coating pie shell, rest for ganache)
10 oz coconut milk or heavy cream
3 tablespoons Mindo Chocolate Makers Miel De Cacao fruit syrup (optional, but incredibly bright and delicious)
Hazelnut Oat Crust
2 cups oat flour
½ cup toasted ground hazelnuts
⅓ cup coconut oil or butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
Plus Much More Below!
In a moderate-size saucepan over medium heat, mix together pitted cherries, maple syrup, lemon juice, and ¼ cup water. Allow this to cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cherries are soft and the water has reduced. Incorporate 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into 2 teaspoons of water before adding to the cherry mixture. Cook for 1 minute, constantly mixing, until thickened.
Remove from heat and let cool completely before transferring to a covered container. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the crust, combine all dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and maple syrup, and mix until a slightly sticky dough forms.
Line the bottom of a tart pan with parchment paper before transferring the crust onto it. Evenly press the dough into the grooves of the pan. Poke the crust with a fork to prevent any bubbles from forming.
Bake in an oven at 350 degrees (F) for 16-20 minutes, or until lightly golden around the top edges. Remove from heat and let cool completely before taking off the tart ring. Carefully slide the tart crust off of its pan onto a cake board or serving plate.
Melt ¼ cup Mindo 77% chocolate chunks in the microwave and paint the bottom of the tart shell with a thin layer to protect it from moisture. (This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy with juice from the cherry compote.) Set aside and let it sit a moment.
To make the ganache, put 12 oz. of chocolate chunks aside in a mixing bowl and bring the coconut milk or heavy cream just hardly to a boil. Pour the hot liquid directly over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds to a few minutes. Whisk together until well-combined.
If using Miel de Cacao, whisk in 3 tablespoons now. Set aside.
Now it’s time to assemble your Cloud Forest Cherry Tart! Place the tart shell onto a sheet tray and evenly spread cherry compote over the chocolate-painted Hazelnut Oat Crust. Take care that the cherry pieces are evenly spread. You won't want them to form too jagged a layer, as this could interfere with the beautiful finish of the ganache top.
Pour your ganache evenly over the cherry compote so that it settles into a flat top layer. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until fully set.
Decorate your chocolate-cherry tart with whole sweet cherries, cherry halves, and hazelnut pieces and halves.
Once fully set and decorated, your Cloud Forest Cherry Tart is ready to cut into lovely little pieces and serve chilled! The smooth ganache and compote play beautifully with the crumbly fun of the tart's nutty hazelnut oat crust. This Black Forest remix should remind you of the classic favorite while also redefining the magic that cherries and chocolate can make together -- enjoy it and luxuriate in perfect brightness and darkness both!
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