Cherry vanilla tarte tartin

Photographer: Emma
Makes 44 little tarts

Almost two years ago now my friends and I took advantage of an invitation to a wedding, held the bottom of the south island, to pack our bags, load the cars and set off on a road trip to explore the beauty that lies at our doorstep.  I had slept very little the night before, returning late from Christmas celebrations and rising early to bake savoury scones for the long journey ahead.  And so there we were, Boxing Day morning, still drowsy and still full of Christmas and on the road heading due south.

It is amazing how one and a half thousand kilometres on the road brings with it such varied landscapes and such a diverse offering of natural bounty.  Snapper which are found in abundance in our temperate north island waters give way to blue cod and whitebait (much to our delight) as we move further south and the waters get colder.  Ranunculus bloom into Peonies and apple trees into cherries and we stop often to load up the car with summer bounty.  Soaring cliffs drop sharply into deep ravines filled with white foamy water and the colours which whizz by my passenger window are beautifully muted, almost as if straight from an oil canvas.

These little cherry tarte tatin are inspired by this journey.  They herald the arrival of summer and make fantastic wee nibbles for any festive occasion.


22 cherries, halved and pitted
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
1 vanilla pod
1 lemon, from which 3 strips of zest have been peeled
Philo pastry
Butter, melted


1. Place the cherries, sugar, water, vanilla pod and lemon zest into a saucepan and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes until soft.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C on bake and grease a mini muffin tin. Cut the Philo into squares slightly larger than the muffin moulds themselves. Cover these squares with a tea towel as you work so that the pasty does not dry out.
3. Place a cherry half into each muffin mould. Brush two squares of pasty with the melted butter then lay them over the top of the cherry, one at a time, folding the edges back over themselves.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the muffin trays to cool then serve immediately.