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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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? excellent. with cherries and coconut? excellenter...

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

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