August 16, 2004
[Honey Cheese Tart with Candied Orange Peel]
This golden tart rounds out the selection of desserts I served at my birthday party. The birthday cake itself had to be chocolate of course, and I wanted to bake a second dessert that would complement it in terms of taste, shape, color and texture.
I felt that a cheesecake of sorts would be just the thing, and I was inspired by a recipe I found in one of my grandmother's magazines : the recipe was for a fresh cheese tart with raisins, and it sounded wonderfully straightforward, so I jotted down the basic instructions.
Over the next couple of weeks the recipe took on a life of its own in my head, shedding the raisins for candied orange rind (which I adore and have large supplies of, in part because of an accidental double purchase at G.Detou), replacing half the sugar with honey (to lend more depth to the taste), and using homemade pie dough in place of store-bought (a non-negotiable term for desserts in my humble opinion, unless terribly pressed for time and/or energy).
The result was a surprising and complex mix of flavors, which worked beautifully together. The texture was also very pleasant, as the filling and dough sort of blended into one another, forming a gradual progression from crumbly shell to moist, fresh cheese, and the chewy little bolts of orange taste. I received many a compliment about it, and a lot of my friends came to me with an intrigued look on their face, asking what was in it that made it so interesting and tasty.
And this tart also found, as I had hoped, its rightful place in the dessert bonanza, between the lighter rhubarb compote and the richer chocolate cake, alongside Marie-Laure and Ludo's fruit salad and Sabrina's mini carrot cakes.
Tarte au Fromage Frais, Miel et Ecorces d'Orange Confites
- 250 g fresh cheese (I used ricotta)
- 3 eggs
- 60 g sugar
- 60 g honey (I used "Miel du Maquis" from Corsica)
- 60 g candied orange rind
Pie dough :
- 150 g flour
- 75 g sugar
- 75 g butter
- a dash of milk
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), and grease a 25-cm (10-inch) springform cake pan.
Make the dough : in a food processor, mix the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in the flour until the dough forms coarse crumbs. Add in a dash of milk, and mix again. Pour this mixture evenly into your tart pan, and press the dough down to pack it and cover the surface the pan, forming a little rim all around. Prick all over with a fork, and put into the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden.
While the tart shell bakes, prepare the filling. Cut the orange rind in small dice and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the fresh cheese and the eggs. Add in the sugar and honey, and whisk again until thoroughly combined.
Take the tart shell out of the oven. Sprinkle the orange rind evenly over the bottom, and slowly pour in the fresh cheese mixture, so as not to disturb the bits of orange rind too much. Return into the oven, and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set and the top is golden.
Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, run a knife all around to loosen the tart, and remove the sides of the springform pan. Cut in slices and serve cold or at room temperature.
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