“Stop! Did you see that?” Alec pulls my hand pointing at a beautiful Italian Cherry and Almond Tart behind the glass of our favorite pastry shop window. “Let’s go buy one. It’s the first one I have seen this season”!
It’s a bustling Saturday morning in Italy. Everybody is out taking a stroll in the historic city center enjoying the nice weather and our newly found freedom after spending the first part of spring on lockdown…
Cherry season just started. The Italian outdoor markets overflow with beautiful, fresh cherries. And so do the pastry shops, which display the most enticing and mouthwatering cherry based treats and desserts. One of the most popular is definitely the good-old Italian Cherry Almond Tart, also known as a Cherry Frangipane Tart.
This delicious pie, features three layers of deliciousness: a crumbly shortbread crust, a delectable cherry jam and fresh fruit filling, and a spongy frangipane top scattered with a few more cherries and nuts.
If you have never heard of “frangipane”, it’s a sweet and nutty filling for pies and tarts that was invented in Italy and dates back to the 1600. In its original version, frangipane can be a bit on the heavy side, as it’s intended as an almond flavored custard that usually involves lots of butter and sugar in its preparation.
As it ends up happening most of the time, I talked Alec into making our own, healthy version of this Cherry Frangipane Tart … and one that I could enjoy as well, since the pastry shop version of this pie is definitely not gluten free nor dairy free for that matter.
How to Make a Healthy Italian Cherry and Almond Tart:
After we bought a full bag of fresh cherries at the outdoor market, we headed back home and to start putting together this gluten free cherry and almond tart.
I washed the cherries, cut them in half and remove the pit. And after I turned on the oven to preheat it to 180 C (350 F), I started combining all ingredients for the shortbread crust in my food processor. Once a nice ball of dough formed, I flattened it out with a rolling pin over a sheet, then transferred the shortbread crust in a baking pan, spread a layer of cherry jam on top and baked it alone for 10 minutes.
While the gluten free crust was pre-baking, I started preparing the frangipane filling for my Cherry and Almond Tart. I combined egg whites and coconut sugar in a glass bowl and beat them with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes, until soft peaks formed.
I then added in the almond flour, together with the vanilla extract and coconut milk and rhum, and mixed them in very slowly, moving my fork from the bottom to the top, always in the same direction.
Lastly, chop 1/3 of the cherries I previously cut in half and I added them in the frangipani mixture together with the baking powder, folding both ingredients in gently.
After 10 minutes, I took the gluten free shortbread crust out of the oven, covered it with cherry halves and filled it with the cherry and almond tart mixture. Lastly, I added some more cherry halves on top, together with some pine nuts (flaked almonds would be a better toppings, but I ran out).
The recipe also called for gluten free oats, rich fiber, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.
And if you are wondering if gluten free oatmeal si actually gluten free, please take a look at this recipe for my favorite porridge, where I address this question in the middle of the article.
After 35 to 40 minutes, a delicious smell started oozing out of the oven. That was the sign that my gluten free Italian cherry and almond tart was ready! I made sure to let it cool down completely before taking it out of the baking pan and transfer it on a serving plate (if you take it out while still hot, most likely the crust will crack).
And if there’s one thing you can be sure of is that we NEVER eat a food while it’s still hot… because doing a photoshoot is quite time consuming! 😉 But, hey, that’s definitely worth it if it means that I can share the recipe of my Italian Cherry and Almond Tart with you guys! 🙂
Italian Cherry and Almond Tart (Dairy & Gluten Free)
- Food Processor
- 2 cups Cherries
For the Gluten Free Shortbread Crust:
- 1/2 cup Rice Flour
- 1/8 cup Cassava Flour
- 1/8 cup Organic Corn Starch
- 2 tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 2 tbsp Almond Milk
- 2 free range Yolks mine were small
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
- 3 tbsp sugar free Cherry Jam
For the Frangipane Filling:
- 2 free range Egg Whites mine were small
- 1 1/2 tbsp Coconut Sugar
- 4 tbsp Almond Flour
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 1 tbsp Rhum or Limoncello optional
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tbsp Pine Nuts
- 1 tsp Coconut Sugar
- Wash the cherries, cut them in half and remove the pit
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F)
- Combine all ingredients for the shortbread crust (except for the jam) in a food processor and pulse until you a nice ball of dough.
- With a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment paper until 8 mm (1/3”) thick.
- Transfer the shortbread crust in a baking pan (18 cm / 7 inch diameter), poke it with a fork and spread a layer of cherry jam on top.
- Bake for 10 minutes while you prepare the frangipane layer.
- Combine the egg whites with the coconut sugar in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until soft peaks form (this will take 1 or 2 minutes).
- Add in the almond or hazelnut flour, together with the vanilla extract and coconut milk, and mix them in very slowly, moving your fork from the bottom to the top, always going in the same direction.
- Lastly, chop 1/3 of the cherries you halved and add them in the frangipani mixture together with the baking powder and fold them in gently.
- Take the shortbread crust out of the oven (it only needs to pre-bake for 10 minutes) and cover it with cherry halves.
- Pour the frangipane mixture on top of your Italian cherry and almond pie, decorate with the leftover cherry halves (optionally you can sprinkle some more coconut sugar and some pine nuts on top), and bake your gluten free cherry pie for 35 more minutes.
I am excited to see your recreations of my Italian Cherry and Almond Tart (or Cherry Frangipani Tart), so make sure to take a photo and tag me when you share it on Instagram!! Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends on Facebook, save it on your favorite Pinterest board and subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love from Italy and I will catch you at the next recipe!