Friday, July 23, 2010

Cherry Cream Cheese Tart

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 I look forward to birthdays... especially those that aren't even mine. My mother in law recently had a birthday and the family got together to celebrate the other night. As a special treat, I made this Cherry Cream Cheese Tart to share. It makes for a beautiful presentation and is a great summer dessert, which is even better if you make your own cherry topping from scratch.

Out of convenience, I didn't have a chance to make a homemade cherry topping so I resorted to the canned stuff. But nonetheless the tart was really good! The crust is made with a mixture of flour, confectioners sugar, butter and an egg yolk. As for the filling, it's a straightforward combination of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cream and some citrus zest for extra brightness. Overall, its a great cream cheese tart recipe that can be topped with your preferred topping. In this case, I used cherry pie filling but any berry topping or even chocolate, caramel and nuts would be fantastic!


Cherry Cream Cheese Tart
recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons soft butter
1 large egg yolk

Filling:

8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cream or half & half
rind of 1 medium orange or lemon, optional

Topping:
1 can cherry pie filling (or you can make it from scratch)




To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Mix in the butter until evenly crumbly. Add the egg yolk, mixing until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Press the dough into a 9 inch tart pan, pushing firmly up the sides. Prick the crust all over with a fork and chill in the freezer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. After the crust has chilled in the freezer, bake the tart crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.


To make the filling: Mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar until well blended, scraping  the side and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then add the cream and zest (if using.) Pour the filling into the baked crust. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tart is nearly set. The middle will be slightly jiggly, which is fine. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with canned (or homemade) cherry pie filling. Other fruit toppings can be used as well.

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