Macaroon Cherry Tart Recipe

My go-to cherry tart recipe - unfussy, and quick to make with a moist, coconut macarooned top.

Macaroon Cherry Tart

Last week I watched the paint melt off the walls in my kitchen. It was that hot here in San Francisco. It won't surprise most of you to hear that during this heat wave I spent most of my time in the kitchen - with the oven (and all burners) blazing. My sister is seven months pregnant and Sunday I threw her a baby shower. Other than a spending a couple days in an overheated kitchen, pulling together the food was fun, and a welcome change for me. I mean, you see how I typically cook - for two (with lots of leftovers!). I made lots of different things for the party and it was tough for me to decide which recipe to share with you first. This macaroon cherry tart won out. For those of you who think tarts are too fussy - as far as tart-making is concerned, this is about as unfussy as they get.

Cherry Tart Recipe

The tart came about on a bit of whim. Cherries are flooding the markets here right now. I had a couple baskets of Brooks cherries on hand and decided to go for it. I grabbed for other ingredients in my immediate vicinity - coconut, eggs, a favorite sugar, and decided on a press-in-pan, coconut, too-lazy-to-roll-out, crust. For the effort that goes into making a tart like this (minimal), the payoff is excellent. I also love the way they look - but I suppose I am biased ;)...For a gluten and wheat-free version of the tart, please look to the head notes.

Cherry Tart Recipe

For those of you who might be curious about some of the other plates that were served (you can see some of them in the photo up above):

- a big farro salad with citrus dressing and lots of springtime goodies.
- a new version of ravioli salad with a cilantro pesto and other tasty bits
- a big butter leaf salad with a a few crushed pistachios
- goat cheese garlic-rubbed crostini (similar to the one in SNC)
- special split yellow peas
- a big bowl of lemon-zested toasted pepitas
- big bowls of citrus wedges
- Mark (my beer-brewing, fantastic brother-in-law) grilled up a platter of lemon chicken skewers, and Wayne did the spicy-lemon tofu version for the vegetarians

Unfortunately, the heat wave has now passed. We're officially fogged in, and I'm sitting here bundled up in a sweater with a hood. If anyone sees the sun, could you send him back to SF for a few more days - perhaps dialed down just a touch? It would be much appreciated.

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Macaroon Cherry Tart Recipe

I made this tart a day in advance and it served up nicely. Don't get too hung up on the exact pan size, anything in the general ball-park of 8x11 will work. On the cherry pitting front, here's the trick (if you don't own a cherry-pitter): take a pair of clean needle nose pliers and use them. Once you get the swing of things it goes fast. Insert the pliers into the side of the cherry at a 90-degree angle - straight in the side. When you go in through the side with the pliers open just a hint you're able to get a grip on the pit at a comfortable angle and rip it right out. This technique leaves the cherry intact for the most part as well. Gluten free alternative: Mary, one of my readers wrote in to say she made the tart gluten and wheat free by substituting 1c almond flour and 1/2 sweet rice flour for the 1 1/2c of regular flour, "It was delicious!!!"

1/2 pound cherries, washed
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (regular apf flour will work)
2 3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (divided)
1 1/4 cup raw cane (or brown) sugar, lightly packed (divided)
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350F degrees with racks in the middle. Butter an 8x11 tart pan (or rough equivalent) and line with parchment paper. Pit the cherries (see headnote), tear each cherry in half, and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the coconut, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and salt. Stir in the melted butter and mix until dough is crumbly but no longer dusty looking. Press the mixture into the prepared pan (it should form a solid, cohesive base), and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In the meantime prepare the coconut topping by combining the remaining 2 cups coconut, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and egg whites. Mix until well combined.

Evenly distribute most of the cherries across the tart base. Now drop little dollops of the macaroon topping over the cherries (I dirty up my hands for this part), and mush/press the coconut topping around a bit into the spaces behind the cherries. Be sure to let at least some of the colorful cherries pop through the topping for visual flair. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the peaks of the macaroon topping are deeply golden. Let tart cool, and garnish by sprinkling any remaining fresh cherry halves across the top.

Makes about 48 petite bites.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Oh! I just got my first baskets of cherries this season at the farmers market! I too was stuck in the heat wave (sacramento) and made my kids ice cream with half them. this dessert looks FANTASTIC! i can't wait to make this! p.s. greens are a staple in my household and abundant at the market. got any new ideas for chards, kales, etc?


As always ....excellent! Great idea, I mat try this unstead with the assortment of berries about to flood NYC. Continue to be an inspiration to others. All the best to the new family additional. I will be awaiting children receipe when your niece or nephew arrive. "Happy Cooking!"

Working HMSUZY

It was 101 degress here in Austin, Texas yesterday - be HAPPY to send it to y'all! My tomato plants are UNhappy.

mz priss

I love the photos. The shower photo belies the heat you speak of -- how hot is it? It seems so early for a heat wave. But, if your getting a heat wave might as well revel in it and turn up the oven! I think I'll try that next time (the Midwest is one permanent heat wave come, oh, June). Will definitely put this tart on the list of things to make while waiting for heat to break...

You Know You're a Food Snob if...

I'm glad to hear it's hot somewhere...! This looks great as I love cherries AND macaroons. I have been wondering about this 'white' whole wheat flour. Is it the same as regular whole wheat flour except...bleached?

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

thanks for the inspiration, heidi! I'm actually throwing a bridal shower for a friend this weekend and one of the items on the menu is your farro salad with citrus-parm dressing. I'm so excited to share it with everyone. (now let's just hope that a heat wave doesn't hit boston just in time for me to bake the desserts!)


Heidi, I always look forward to your new recipes. Love cherries and coconut and the idea of an easy tart. I made a HARD TO MAKE lime tart on Sunday that was at least twice the calories. I figured at 48 bites it's 40 calories and at 10 pieces (more my style) it's a dessert still under 200 calories and yet seems decadent.


A cherry pitter is a great investment-- not surprisingly, it works great on olives. (Boy, did that come in handy one night!) I might ignore that "makes about 48 petite bites" part and cut this sucker into pie slices because a) it sounds delicious and b) my tart pan is round.


A cherry pitter is a great investment-- not surprisingly, it works great on olives. (Boy, did that come in handy one night!) I might ignore that "makes about 48 petite bites" part and cut this sucker into pie slices.


You can also use an unfolded paperclip (so it looks like an 's') in a pinch. Insert one end of the 's' into the center of the cherry and the pit will come right out.

Candice Lucas

Wow, it definitely sounds like a heat wave has hit San Francisco!! It's freezing where I am :0( I can't believe that you came up with that tart on a whim - it's GORGEOUS!! Sounds delicious.


That looks so good! I wish cherries would ever be cheap and plentiful enough over here to use them in cooking; we bought some lovely ones at a farm gate in France last year, but ate them all before we got anywhere near home!

Mrs Redboots

Heidi; Wow! just fantastic idae i could try it right now, and congratulation for your sister Mom to be.

Nuria Terrenal

Another way of getting the stones out of cherries is with a clean kirby(hair) grip. My Greek mother-in-law taught me this trick with morrelo cherries, but I'm sure it will work with other types of cherry.You insert the loopy end of the grip in the stalk end of the cherry twist and the stone comes out with no trouble.

Heidi P

Thanks for your easy cooking recipes. Best of wishes to your pregnant sister.


It's so great to see the sun shining there in San Fran and hear of your adventures in the too hot kitchen - here in Sydney winter is just setting in and it is not so much fun at all!! Oh to be sweltering there with you!! Makes me feel warmer just thinking about it. Love these beautiful dishes - a healthy party is such a wonderful gift to give a mum- and baby- to-be.

Kyle @ Yumoh!

Heidi, this entire meal looks fantastic! Take care.


Heidi, I absolutely enjoy your site! This recipe is a must make. Your take on macaroons turned into a tart is a fabulous idea. Helpful gadgets in the kitchen are a must but I've never heard of using needle nose pliers to pit a cherry. How unique. I pit cherries with a melon baller - just did a little write-up about it - Congratulations on your sisters pregnancy.


Oh yum! I am in love with both coconut and cherries so this is my idea of perfection! That and a crust that needs no rolling. I have some tart cherries in my freezer, I wonder if they could possibly work here. Maybe with a little more sugar? Thanks Heidi. :)


I have to bring a dish to a bridal shower this weekend and this would be perfect.


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