Utah Dried Cherry Tart

The cherry was designated the official fruit of Utah in 1997 as a result of the work started by Millville Elementary school children (Millville, Utah). Dried cherries are available year round, but taste especially good this time of the year – and even better in a flaky tart.

1 1/3 cups dried cherries
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
5-6 drops red food color, optional
6 frozen puff pastry shells (10 oz pkg)
2 cups vanilla ice cream

Combine cherries, water, sugar, and tapioca in medium saucepan. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Place over medium heat and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add optional almond extract and food color. Cool while preparing shells. Filling will thicken as it cools.

Follow package directions to bake puff pastry shells. Use a fork to remove tops and soft inside pastry; return to oven and bake 3 minutes longer for crisp shell.

Fill baked shells with approximately 1/4-1/3 cup prepared cherry filling; replace pastry top. Serve with a scoop ice cream. Serves 6.

NOTES: For a turnover variation; use frozen sheets puff pastry. Thaw pastry according to package directions. Open pastry flat, cut into 6 even squares. Place approximately 1/4 cup filling on each square, fold diagonally to make a triangle; press edges to seal. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet at 4000 F for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Drizzle with frosting, if desired.

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