lighten up

June 21st, 2011
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I love cheesecake (who doesn’t?). But I think you’ll agree that there are times where it can be a bit heavy – dare I say, a bit……….much? Which is why I love this dessert.

berries and cream tart

I’ve been making this tart and serving it to rave reviews (and multiple helpings) for over 10 years. It has the same components as a traditional cheesecake - the graham cracker crust,  the cream cheese filling. But the crust and filling are thinner and lighter, making it cheesecake’s daintier, more refined relative. And I’m telling you, people literally go nuts for it.

I can see this being your go-to dessert for summer – it’s so festive looking, quick and easy to assemble with little notice, and impressive enough to serve at your fanciest dinner party (or secure your position as “best guest EVER” if you arrive with it in hand).

Best of all, the crust can be made a day in advance and the entire tart can be assembled up to 6 hours ahead. Feel free to use whatever berries are available, or to your liking.

berries and cream tart

berries and cream tart

berries and cream tart

berries and cream tart

berries and cream tart

Berries and Cream Tart
adapted from Gourmet

Crust:
4 oz. graham cracker crumbs
2 oz. finely chopped pecans (see Note, below)
2 ½ T. sugar
½ stick butter, melted and cooled

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. heavy cream
4 c. assorted berries

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Make the crust: Blend the crumbs, pecans (if using), sugar and butter till mixture resembles fine meal. Transfer to a buttered 11” tart pan with fluted sides and removable bottom, press it into the bottom and sides of the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or till golden Let cool completely in pan (may be made 1 day in advance – keep chilled).

Make the filling: In a mixer blend together the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla till smooth. In a separate bowl beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks, and whisk gently into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon into crust, smoothing the top.

Assemble the tart: Arrange the berries decoratively on the filling, transfer tart to serving plate** and chill till serving (made be made 6 hours in advance; keep chilled).

**An easy way to separate the side of the pan from the tart is to place the pan on top of a medium to large can with a flat top. You can then loosen the side and lower it away from the tart without disturbing the crust. Then simply transfer to a serving tray.

Note: if allergies are an issue, you can substitute the pecans for another type of nut or eliminate altogether, increasing the amount of graham cracker crumbs to 6 oz.

(print this recipe)


This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
http://sherisilver.com/2011/06/21/lighten-up/

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