Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Cheesecake Tart. With a creamy top and buttery base, who can resist this classic dessert.
Dorie uses pâte sablée (sweet tart dough base) in her version of a cheesecake tart – it is more fragile and delicate than pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry), but melts in the mouth like no other pastry.
When I make a pâte sablée I always heap the flour on my work surface and make a well in the center. Then I put the cold, unsalted butter, confectioners´ sugar and salt in the well. With my fingertips, I mix and cream the butter with the sugar and salt, then add the egg yolk and work it in delicately with my fingertips. Then little by little, I draw the flour into the center and work the mix until I have an even dough. Using the palm of my hand, I push the dough away from me 3 or 4 times until it is completely smooth. I then roll it into a ball, wrap it into saran wrap and refrigerate until I am ready to proceed with my tart.
For this recipe I chose my French tart pan, my very favorite one, the tried and true, the no-fuss one, with a removable bottom and high sides. The one that makes a very simple tart like this, look like a very elegant tart, with its raised border and nice scalloped edges. This tart pan allows me to bake my tarts with a tart dough that is not too thick, yet sturdy enough to hold a creamy filling like this one.
For Dorie´s tart base you will have to roll out the pastry to a round and line your lightly greased tart pan Then you chill it again in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven, prick the base of your pastry case with a fork (docking), line with baking parchment and evenly fill with baking beans (either special ceramic ones or dried beans that you can use again for this purpose) to hold the pastry down. Bake the case in the oven (baking blind) for 30 minutes. Take the pastry out of the oven, remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool while you make the filling.
For the filling you finely grate the zest from half an organic lemon and then set aside. Whisk together cornstarch and milk (to thicken the filling). Also set aside. Mix together the fromage blanc, egg yolks, sugar, pure vanilla, zest, and a pinch of sea salt as well as the milk mixture. Scatter golden raisins over the bottom of the pastry. Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for about 50 minutes. Place on a wire rack and leave for about 20 minutes before removing the tart pan. Either enjoy while still lukewarm or let the tart cool completely, then place in the least cool part of your fridge until you are ready to serve.
Cut the cheesecake into portions using a very sharp knife. And enjoy to the fullest as we did – no, no suprise there, we are Europeans and we love Dorie´s European desserts. Simple. Elegant. Clean flavors. Not overly sweet. No adornments required. None. Apart from my beloved flowers, of course.
Cheesecakes like Dorie´s are very popular around here, very popular. We loved this one to the very last crumb, as did all our guests. When we are invited, I often get requests for bringing along this type of „European“ cheesecake and I always happily oblige.
Today is not only the „day of the last Dorie dessert recipe from the book“ but also May Day. This is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a public holiday around these parts. Flowers are always a big part of May Day celebrations.
May Day not only brings the image of collecting flowers but throughout its history, May Day has also always been a joyous celebration of spring and the coming summer. So, of course, there are a lot of flowers playing an important part in today´s post – come to think of it, they always do, I would not be me if I did otherwise! But those of you that have been kind enough to follow my blogging adventures for the last couple of years know that of course…
To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for the Cheesecake Tart on page 469 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".