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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cheesecake Tarts

I've been trying very hard to not bake too much, since everything I bake, I have to eat and I'm trying to limit that somewhat. Summer is coming, after all. But I was experimenting with cheese making earlier this week and the result, which I had hoped might make a nice herbed cheese spread, came out more like a cream cheese, but fluffier and softer. Oh well. The only thing I could really think of to make to allow the cheese to fulfill its destiny was cheesecake. I decided to make individual cheesecake tarts, though, because they freeze well so I don't have to gorge myself on them all at once (which I would). I've written the recipe using fromage blanc, which is available in a lot of grocery stores these days. It would also work well with ricotta or cream cheese. And, just so you know, I'll get around to posting some cheesemaking posts before too long.

Cheesecake Tarts
Yield: 5 mini tarts

For the crust:
1 individually wrapped package of regular graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
4 TBS melted butter

Pulse crackers in food processor until broken down into crumbs, add sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until well mixed.

For the filling:
2 cups fromage blanc
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream

Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place 5 mini tart pans on a baking sheet. Spoon 3 TBS of crust mixture into each tart pan. Press down and up the sides a bit. Spoon filling into crust , almost filling to the top (filling will rise slightly while baking, but will fall back down when cool). You can leave them plain, or swirl some fruit in them. I took some raspberry freezer jam and spooned five small (less than 1/2 a teaspoon each) dollops around the top. Then I took a knife and gently swirled the jam through the filling. Don't worry about it looking weird. As long as you don't overdo it, it will look fabulous when baked. Bake for 30 minutes. Tarts may start to crack slightly and will not jiggle when shaken, but otherwise may not look very different than when you put them in. That's okay! Take them out and let them cool. Refrigerate in their pans until ready to serve. No adornment needed! If you want to freeze them, once they are thoroughly chilled, remove them from their tins, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set in freezer until frozen solid and then package in air tight containers for long term (yeah, right) storage.

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