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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC


Rustic Cherry Torte


In May and June when spring cherries flood the market and are most delicious and affordable is the best time to make this peasant torte, made simply with cherries layered between apricot-sweetened dough. Bake it a day ahead of serving to allow its caramelized cherry juices time to permeate and soften the dough layers, rendering the torte moist, flavorful, and tender. This is a climate-friendly and delicious pastry for breakfast, Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, or for dessert. Cherries, the star of this show, offer several nutritional benefits: several antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese, making them anti-inflammatory, low-calorie, and low glycemic.


Prep time 2 hours for the dough to rise, 1 hour to bake, and 8 hours, refrigerated   

Baking time 45 to 60 minutes

Makes a 9 by13-inch tri-layer torte


½ teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup spring water, warmed to body temperature

About 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 banana, mashed to a smooth pulp

Apricot paste from 2 cups dried unsulfured apricots

4 pounds of fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pitted


  1. Preheat oven at 400°F.
  2. Add warm spring (untreated) water to a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Wait 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  3. Mix in the banana pulp. With a Danish dough whisk or a wooden spoon, slowly add 1½ cups of flour, mixing it into a slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for dough 10 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour a board. Using a curved plastic dough scraper, transfer the dough it the board and knead it for 8 minutes, adding whole wheat pastry flour as needed to avoid excessive sticking.
  5. Flatten, stretch, and fold the dough in thirds four times, rotating it 90 degrees each time. Lightly flour the dough again and return it to the bowl. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, place in a warm corner, proofing box, or oven with a proofing setting, and allow the dough to rise until it almost doubles in size, about 2 hours.
  6. Add the dry apricots to a bowl and pour just enough boiling water over them to cover. Soak the apricots until soft. Alternatively, microwave them for 2 minutes. Cool. Add the softened apricots with the soaking water to a high-speed blender. Blend it at high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The puréed apricots should be smooth and spreadable, like jam. If it is too thick to spread with a knife, add a spoonful of water.
  7. Slice fresh cherries in half and pit them. Frozen pitted cherries should remain whole.
  8. With a dough scraper, transfer dough to a lightly floured board. Stretch and fold a few more times.
  9. Divide the dough in thirds, and return two thirds to the bowl, keeping them well covered to prevent drying.
  10. The torte is baked in a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish.
  11. On a large piece of parchment paper that is well floured, roll out the other third piece of dough into a 9 by 13-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch. Flip the dough and flour it as necessary to prevent its sticking.
  12. Fold the dough in thirds and lift it to transfer it to the baking dish. Alternatively, brush away the excess flour from the parchment paper, and reverse the parchment over the pan to transfer the dough.
  13. Trim any excess dough from stretching so that it fits neatly in the baking dish.
  14. Spread a thin coat of apricot paste over the dough. Add a dense layer of cherries, packed very closely together.
  15. Repeat Steps 11 through 14 with the second piece of dough.
  16. Top the torte with the final dough layer. Spread a thin layer of apricot paste. Top with cherries, spaced an inch apart. If using fresh cherries, place them cut side down.
  17. Bake the torte for 45 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Use a pastry brush to brush the cherry juices over the top crust and fruit. and return to the oven.
  18. Continue baking for up to 15 minutes or until the dough crust is golden and glossy, the cherries have collapsed, and the torte’s juices are bubbling actively.
  19. Transfer the baking dish to a cooling rack. Brush the juices over the top crust and fruit. Cool completely and refrigerate.
  20. This rustic torte is best the day after it is baked, which affords the dough time to absorb the delicious complex elixir of caramelized fruit juices and become soft, tender, and easy to cut. Let it come to room temperature and reheat it in a 200°F oven until warm, about 20 minutes.


Rustic Cherry Torte

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