Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cheesecake tart with fresh fruit

I wanted to try a tart with a dense graham cracker crust. I love my tart pan, so it seemed like a no brainer to try making a cheesecake like tart in it. I started with most of a sleeve of regular graham crackers, which I processed until fine in the food processor. To this you add about 6 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/2-2/3 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Press into the buttered pan using a metal dry measuring cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. While that bakes, prepare the filling to pour into the hot crust. I used 1 cup softened marscapone cheese, 1 8-oz package of softened cream cheese, 2 eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, and half a vanilla bean, split and scraped. Blend these together using a hand or stand mixer, then pour the filling into the crust once it finishes baking. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes. The tart will puff up, but should not overflow. As it cools, it will return to the normal size.
Fruit topping. This was a great trick that I learned in order to make glazed fruit for the topping. What I love about it is that you can use whatever fruit you have on hand. Using a little bit of apricot jam, microwave for about 30 seconds until warm and gooey. Then toss your fruit of choice in the bowl and arrange on the tart.
I had beautiful fresh strawberries and blackberries on hand, so I used those. The jam gives that beautiful shiny coating to the fruit, and you would swear that this dessert was purchased at a fancy boutique! This is a great dessert to make ahead of time, because it benefits from spending a night in the fridge to chill. Once it is time to serve, remove from the fridge about a half hour before you want to use it. To separate the metal edge from the pan, invert a bowl on the counter and set the tart on top. Gently press down on the metal as you turn the pan on the bowl. It might take a little while for the crust to release, but try to be careful to not push too much in one spot. After a while, gravity kicks in and will help the ring fall away.
Cut into 10-12 wedges. It would be especially pretty served with fresh mint sprigs. This one came to work with me. Needless to say, my coworkers were happy to see me that day! It went out on the counter around 8:30 am and was gone before lunch.

Other fruit ideas: sliced nectarines, raspberries, kiwi and mango.


Anonymous said...

A nice way to finish off "Cheese Dip" Wednesday? :) hehe

Getting stoked for the trip?


Meagan said...

Haha! Queso!! Yes, we are getting excited! Only a couple more days!