This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was the Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte, which I couldn’t wait to tackle because cheesecake is one of my all-time favorite desserts. The crust is a thick shortbread-butter-type crust (pure heaven for a girl in love with crust!), with a layer of berry jam (I used red raspberry) spread over it, and topped with a cream cheese filling. I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful this dessert is. I guess admitting that I ate a piece for breakfast would be an indication, right? Aside from being delicious, this also has a very elegant look and would be a perfect dessert choice for a dinner party or special occasion.
Please take note that the top of the torte isn’t supposed to be THAT brown. I have a feeling that our oven temperature is off (I have an oven thermometer on my shopping list), so as a result it over-browned a bit. However, the flavor definitely wasn’t sacrificed – it was still smooth and silky.
I also learned something new while baking this torte. Up until now I had always thought of a torte as a high, layered cake, so I was curious as to why this particular cake would be referred to as a “torte”. So off to Wikipedia I went. I learned that the word “torte” is actually derived from the Italian word “torta” which was used to describe a round cake or bread. So much for my assumptions!
Check back next Tuesday to see Perfection Pound Cake.
Last week: Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” pp. 240-242
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 ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)
Butter a 9-inch springform 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 it 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 spring form. Refrigerate for at 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 drust lightly with rice, dried beans or pie weights and slide the sheet into the oven. Bake the crust for 20 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 like 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 confectioner’s sugar.