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Woodfired Cherry, Chocolate and Orange Tart


A handful of cherriesLast week we were in Rome and couldn’t resist buying some cherries off a street vendor before heading home. We don’t get a lot of cherries in Devon so they are a bit of a rare treat for us. We’ve brought them back from the South of France in the past so getting some from Rome wasn’t unprecedented.  What turned out to be slightly embarrassing was that two days after our return we went to Kent where every layby had a table laden with home grown cherries … well how were we to know?

Anyway, Italian or English they make a great tart and here’s our recipe for a delicious version baked in the woodfired oven.


  • 1 x 28cm x 4cm loose bottomed flan tin.


  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter (cold and cut into 1cm cubes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp iced water
  • 1 medium egg yolk, lightly beaten.
  • 600g cherries
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa)
  • Zest of two oranges (One fine, one in ribbons for decoration)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
  • Icing sugar for dusting
Make the Pastry:

Put the flour, sugar, almond, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until it is an even, fine texture. Add the lemon juice, egg yolk and water and blitz again for just a few seconds.  Scrape out and bring together by hand then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour or two to firm up.

Fire the oven:

We used a small bushman oven (full refractory and insulated) so preheated it for about 45 minutes with about 5 birch logs.  Plenty to get enough heat into the oven.  Once heated the oven was cleared and allowed to settle for about 15 minutes.

Roll out the pastry:

On a well floured surface roll out the dough into a disc wide enough to line the flan tin with an overhang. Roll the pastry disc onto the rolling pin then unroll it over the flan tin and press gently to line the tin. The pastry will almost certainly break in places, this is fine.  Patch it up with leftover bits and trim off the excess. Rest in the fridge for a further 20–30 minutes before using.

Prepare the cherries and chocolate:

A cherry/olive pitter is ideal here but it can be done by splitting each one and removing the pit. If using a chocolate bar cut it into small pieces.  Cut about 20g of it into fine shreds and put this in the fridge for later.

Make the custard filling:

Whisk together the cream, sugar, zest of 1 orange, egg and egg yolks to make a smooth batter.

Assemble the tart:

Spread the cherries and chocolate over the pastry base then pour over the custard batter.

Ready to Bake


We baked the tart on the floor of a falling oven starting at just over 220C and falling to about 170C by the end of the bake.  The door was slightly ajar and the tart covered with foil for the first 10 minutes.  Then bake uncovered with the door closed for a further 30 minutes (45 minutes total)

In the oven

The pastry may be quite dark just around the top edge (it’s the sugar). Don’t worry, just trim off anything that looks too dark.


Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.


When cooled dust with icing sugar then sprinkle with the reserved chocolate and strips of orange zest. Slice it up and enjoy as a dessert with cream or on its own with a cup of tea.

Ready to serve