The cherry on top

Jul 20, 2015

Freshly-picked cherries are one of the highlights of the English summer – lusciously juicy and full of flavour. Cherries have flourished in Britain for centuries, but are now sadly in decline, mainly due to competition from imported fruit. Our home-grown cherries have a fairly short season so it’s good to enjoy them while we can, like in this recipe supplied by Tomasz Kulawczyk, the new head chef at Botley Hill Farmhouse.

Tomasz explains, “Our menu is all about celebrating the seasons, taking fresh ingredients and making wonderful dishes with them. Cherries are so versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes, so we’re really relishing them right now.” 

This lovely summer baked cheesecake provides a great showcase for English cherries as they sit atop a mascarpone, lemon and frangipane base. It was made by Botley Hill Farmhouse’s dessert chef, Cosmin Prisecaru, who reveals, “It’s important for the pastry to be light and to achieve this you need to treat it gently. Also make sure your finger tips are cold before you start rubbing in the fat – running your hands under the cold tap does the trick.”

Summer cherry & frangipane cheesecake



225g plain flour
110g cold butter cut into cubes
80g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
Small amount of milk

Frangipane mix
100g softened unsalted butter
100g ground almonds
1 egg
100g caster sugar

500g mascarpone
1 lemon zest & juice
140g icing sugar
700g fresh de-stoned cherries
1 vanilla pod


  1. To make your pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl then use a knife to cut the butter into it before rubbing it gently with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar then add the egg and splashes of milk until you can form the dough into a soft ball. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to gas Mark 6, electric 200c/ 180c for fan, then roll pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose bottomed tart tin. Lay a circle of baking paper on top and cover with baking beans then bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  3. While the pastry is baking, make the frangipane by mixing all the ingredients in a food processor until combined then, when pastry is ready, spread this mixture over the base and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave until quite cold.
  4. Split the vanilla pod using a knife then scrape out the seeds. Mix with the mascarpone, lemon juice, zest and icing sugar and carefully spread on top of the cooled tart before decorating with cherries and dusting liberally with icing sugar.

Category: Recipes

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