Monday, August 11, 2008
Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte - Tuesdays with Dorie
After much thought, I decided to do a re-run for this Tuesday, seeing Laurie gave us the option. So many difficult choices - the Shortbread; the Black and White Cake; the Apple Cheesecake and so on and so on. I have come to realize just how precious and brilliant Dorie's book is with its variety of desserts - sophisticated-easy; sophisticated- challenging; simply delicious rustic; delicate tea party; - I could go on and on, and of course, lots of French, French, French! Well, after browsing through the book I finally decided on the Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte, a light cheesecake using part cottage cheese and part cream cheese, ideal for Summer.
It's sitting baking in my new oven right now (behold New Oven, an absolute delight, pictured with Mystery inspecting it). The Torte was easy to get together. I tripped up a bit by not making the buttered foil covering for the pie crust quite large enough, so I got a few edges of over-baked crust, but nothing serious.
Done and delicious! It's a soft, delicate cheesecake just right served on its own with the only addition the cherry preserves, adding an extra taste of sweetness. I used Vavel Morello Cherry Jam, made in Poland, an excellent brand. Bought it at the local Polish deli in my neighborhood. It got rave reviews all round at work and a couple of firm dieters had two slices!
Any changes for next time? Yes, I will use a cheesecake pan with a removable base, rather than a springform (the springform cracked some of the cheesecake when I released it; also the cheesecake pan gives a lovely smooth shape).I'll line the pan with foil, buttered, going up to about a half-inch above the top - that should take care of any over-browned pastry bits.
Here's the recipe:
Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte
FOR THE CRUST
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons unsalted butter,
cut into small pieces and chilled
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING
1/3 cup thick berry or cherry jam
9 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces (1 cup) cottage cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
GETTING READY: Butter a 9-inch springform (or cheesecake)pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
TO MAKE THE CRUST: Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse just to blend. Toss in the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir the egg yolks and vanilla together with a fork, and, still pulsing the machine, add them and continue to pulse until the dough comes together in clumps and curds - restrain yourself, and don't allow the dough to form a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. If you want to roll the dough, gather it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate if for about 20 minutes before rolling. Or simply press the dough into the pan. The dough should come about 1-1/2 inches up the sides of the springform. Refrigerate for a least 30 minutes.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Fit a piece of buttered aluminum foil against the crust, covering it completely. Fill the crust lightly with rice, dried beans or pie weights and slide the sheet into the oven. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes or so - you don't want the crust to get too brown. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the filling.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
TO MAKE THE FILLING: Stir the jam, and spread it over the bottom of the crust - it's okay to do this while the crust is still warm.
Put the cream cheese and cottage cheese into the food processor and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times, for 2 minutes, until you've got a smooth, satiny mix. Add the sugar, salt and spices and process for another 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the eggs and process, scraping the bowl as needed, for a final minute. Pour the filling over the jam.
Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the filling is uniformly puffed and no longer jiggly. Gently transfer the springform pan to a cooling rack and allow the torte to cool to room temperature, during which time the filling will collapse into a thin, elegant layer.
Run a blunt knife between the crust and the sides of the pan, then open and remove the sides of the springform. If the sides of the crust extend above the filling and you don't this look, very gently saw off the excess crust using a serrated knife. Chill the torte slightly or thoroughly before serving and, if you'd like, dust the top with confectioners' sugar.