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.

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Look at that spread! The previous ravioli salad was fantastic – I’d love to hear about the updated version.


Yesterday, I was invited to go to a dinner party with a few hours notice and had very little time to prepare a dish. I brought home an empty dish and their own dessert was barely touched. That says it all.
I used King Arthur’s whole wheat pastry flour. What an easy recipe for such a great return!


Mmmm! This looks really amazing.
I read the suggestion for coconut oil/butter in place of the butter; any egg white replacement ideas for the vegans?


I’m happy to say that I was at Heather’s baby shower and all of the food was great. Heidi did a beautiful job and put a lot of love into this event. This tart was my fave! Lemme tell ya – it tastes totally decadent, but is really a healthy treat. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Heidi. I’m so making this!


This recipe captured my imagination — I look forward to trying it.
I noticed a few comments above I have some suggestions for.
White Whole Wheat Flour is available from King Arthur
Lactose intolerant — maybe try some high quality walnut or other nut oil since the butter is melted anyway? Or try mixing the oil with some almond paste?


Aha, something I can do with the underripe first cherries of the season! But I wish I could remember what kind of hairpin my grandmother taught me to use for pitting cherries when I was five.
For the lactose intolerant: I use Fleischmans Unsalted margarine (it says Kosher Pareve on the label) for all my pie crusts and cookies, as I can’t eat butter either. It’s an almost perfect 1:1 substitute, just tastes a little different if you’re used to butter. Main drawback is it has some trans fats. If you can’t find this at your regular grocery store, go to a natural foods/health food store and ask for “vegan” or “dairy-free” margarine.


I like the sound of this, but I’m lactose intolerant — what would I use as a butter substitute in this recipe?
HS: I actually almost did this using coconut oil/butter. Feel free to substitute – vegans, this swap is for you as well.


WOW! lovely recipe, as usual. will it be possible for you to link-up all the other good stuff you say you prepared for this shower? my mouth waters everytime I go through your blog, as I’m sure everyone else’s does! 🙂
keep up the good work!


the BEST & EASIEST way to pit cherries:
Take a straw (you plastic disposable one….) place it where the stem was and just push the pit through and out. You can pit like that over a pound of cherries in no time (and no money).


P.S. For those of you in NYC… I bought 2 pounds of cherries in Chinatown for just $3.50!


I made this tonight for myself and my boyfriend. I substituted blackberries and raspberries for the cherries… this is my boyfriend’s comment: “This is the best dessert I’ve ever had in my life!” I actually stopped eating for a second just to think how insanely delicious it was. 🙂
Heidi… I’m a huge fan of all your recipes… this is truly a fantastic dessert. Delicious!!! Please keep your recipes coming. 🙂


Wow–that looks splendid. I can’t wait for cherries to show up in our markets!

Magpie Ima

Hi Heidi – I’m throwing (aka catering) a bridal shower for a gluten-free friend in a couple weeks. I have some great quinoa dishes and proteins, but any ideas that could take the place of the usual scone, bagel, muffin melange? Thanks!


This is going to be the perfect dessert for my Memorial Day BBQ! I can’t wait until you share some of the newer versions & recipes for the rest of this meal because it looks incredible.
And if it’s sun you’re wanting, I will GLADLY send you some from Sacramento! Our heatwave finally just broke today, so I’m a bit over it right now. Then again, this was only the beginning… wait til summertime!
Thanks again for the awesome food ideas. 🙂


This looks wonderful, and my two favorite ingredients to boot!


a tart without the godforsaken rolled crust? the kind i am never trying to make again?
with cherries and coconut?

Claudia (cook eat FRET)

Yum! I was craving cherries last month so I’ve been excited to see early arrivals here in the bay area. There’s a potluck next weekend I’m attending and will make this.
As for the heat, oh how I miss it; wish it would come back again….. while others I know complained (people in the bay area tend to be weenies when it comes to heat), I reveled in the feelings of summer!
P.S. Thanks for turning me on to farro; I had never heard of it before but now I love, love, love it! I made a version of your salad with chickpeas and a honey-lemon vinaigrette with the meyer lemons from our yard.


I can’t wait until cherries come into season here and I can pick them from the trees in my grandparents’ orchard!


Am absolutely going to make this… but will drizzle chocolate over the top. Thanks for your always wonderful recipes!


Oh man, this looks AMAZING. I’m tempted to make it this afternoon, substituting the cherries with the fresh raspberries in my fridge.

annie @ toomuchgarlic

This looks SO YUMMY! Too bad I’m allergic to cherries (or any fruit with a pit in it!)…. Could I sub something else,like blackberries maybe?


This is a great recipe, i think I’m gonna try to make one and I hope that it would be perfect…
Thanks for sharing it…


I was so happy to find enormous piles of cherries and other stone fruits (peaches and apricots) at the farmer’s market last weekend! For some reason I wasn’t expecting them until at least June…
I grew up in Seattle where Rainier cherries were prevalent every summer… I wonder if it’s possible to find them locally grown around the Bay Area? If anyone’s seen them, I’d love to know where!

Jen (Modern Beet)

I think this recipe screams for a little almond extract???

Tiffany Ann Peek

I love cherries! Nothing made me happier than cherry season, and hubby heading out to Brentwood to get a flat for me. A cherry pitter maybe a single use tool, but I certainly made use of it.


I just love the idea of this, and can only imagine how delicious it would be with whatever fruit or berries are in season.


I stumbleupon this site! WOW! I love this blog! And the recipe is incredible! Makes my mouth water!! Thanks so much for sharing! I would love to add this to my recipe site with your permission!


I love tarts with crunchy tops! LOVE. This would make a very pretty dessert for Memorial Day 🙂


This looks really interesting. The coconut and cherry combination isn’t one I’ve seen a whole lot of personally. Thanks for the tip about the needle-nosed pliers!

Fearless Kitchen

The tart recipe looks great. Is the crust up the sides or just on the bottom and also, did you remove it from the tart pan before serving or cut pieces right in the pan?


oh wow! i love making tarts and i just got this great tart pan with a removable bottom. i’ve only made chocolate and apple tarts so this one will be a new endeavor.
in addition to the tart, i love all the other items at the party. i’ll have to try a few of them. looks beautiful and tasty!

The Spotted Apron

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

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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