Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cherry Cream Cheese Tarts

Since I picked over 6 lbs of cherries (some for my parents and grandparents), I definitely needed to cook with some!
I found this recipe, and it looked so yummy I wanted to give it a try.  I didn't do much to change it, except for making it in four 4" tart pans instead of one 9" one.  I loved how small and cute they were!  I shared one with two other people, and it was the perfect small serving of dessert.

My cherries weren't as dark and red as the ones on the site of the original recipe, so I added 2 drops of food coloring (gasp!)

I think the people I made this for enjoyed it more than I did.  I loved the cherry topping.  I froze the remainder of my cherries and I will definitely be making the topping to eat with ice cream and yogurt.  I thought that pitting the cherries would be a pain, but it was actually really easy.  I used one of the tips from my cake decorating kit, and just did it while watching tv.  I just stuck the tip on my finger like a thimble, and pushed through the cherry.  They all stayed intact.

I thought the cheese filling was a little dense.  Maybe since it didn't have any eggs?  I was expecting something more similar to cheesecake.  I didn't love the crust either, but that could entirely be my fault.  I probably haven't fully mastered making great tasting crusts.  It was hard to roll out so I had to press it out with my fingers, which could have created some issues.  But I thought it was a little dry (after it was cooked).

All in all it was definitely good, but I might not make it again.  I definitely will use it as an inspiration for other recipes though!  Great idea with the combination of ingredients.

Recipe: Cherry Cream Cheese Tarts (from Evil Shenanigans)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3-4 tbsp ice water

8 oz block cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp sour cream (I used whole milk greek yogurt)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp flour

2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix well, then add the cubed butter.  Use a pastry knife or your fingers to mix well, until the butter is mostly in pea-sized bits.  Add the cold water, starting with 3 tbsp, and add the 4th if kneaded.  Knead about 10 times, then form into a disk, cover with plastic, and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

While the dough chills, mix the cherries, cornstarch, sugar and water in a small pot.
Cook over medium heat uncovered until thick, about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then add the almond extract and lemon juice.
Stir well and cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer (I used a stand mixer), add the cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and sugar.  Process until very smooth.  Add the flour and blend until combined.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Heat the oven to 425 F.
Roll out the dough for the crust on a well floured surface.  Line the inside of the tart pan(s) with the dough, making sure not to pull or stretch the dough in the pan, and trim off any excess.  Dock the dough with a fork, then line the crust with parchment paper and add pie weights, beans or rice.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove the weights and parchment, and bake for 10 additional minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 F.  Fill the crust with the cheese filling
and bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed all over.
Cool to room temperature.
Spread the cherry topping over the tarts just before serving.
Can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


j. said...

this is becoming my standard comment - perhaps it's in shock seeing someone blog about the evolution of food from ingredients to masterpiece, but... these look great! :p

Kristen Piehl said...

I too picked cherries (>4 pounds!) and need to use them, so I was looking up recipes and came across a similar recipe with the same name. Wanted to share the ideas, in case someone doesn't have tart pans.

Instead of making a crust, use a vanilla wafer at the bottom of a muffin pan with a muffin tin. Top with cream cheese and bake. Then finish with cherry topping. Makes the recipe a little more accessible!

Great idea and recipe! Love the blog...