Nectarine & Blueberry Tart

I especially loved this beautiful tart because in addition to being delicious, it is made with a flaky and buttery press-in crust and a cheesecake-like no-bake filling. Nice shortcuts! I topped it with my favorite summer fruit- white nectarines. The original recipe uses peaches which would also be fabulous.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. The chilled temperature and brightness from lemon zest made it very refreshing.

Yield: One 9 or 10-inch tart, about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Beat butter with confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to medium-low; add flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and beat until just combined and crumbly (do not overmix).
  4. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch square tart pan or a 9- or 10-inch round tart pan, with a removable bottom.
  5. Dock bottom at 1-inch intervals with the tines of a fork. Freeze 15 minutes.
  6. Place on rimmed baking sheet or pizza tin, and bake until golden brown and set, 23 to 33 minutes. Let cool completely. (Crust can be kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 days.)
  7. Beat together cream cheese, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon juice, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium-high speed until creamy.
  8. With mixer running, slowly add cream and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. (You should have about 2 cups.)
  9. Spread mixture into crust; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
  10. Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel peaches/nectarines, if desired; cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. (I left the peels intact.)
  11. Transfer to a bowl and stir in berries and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  12. Just before serving, spoon macerated fruit over tart and drizzle some of juice from bowl over it. (I used all of the juice!)
  13. Sprinkle with mint, if desired, and serve.

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake

This recipe encourages the use of frozen berries! It was very quick to put together, had a lovely presentation, and most importantly was delicious as well. 🙂 We ate this cake for dessert but it would also be an amazing coffee cake. This recipe is from Bon Appétit.

Yield: Serves 8

  • nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups ricotta
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries or blackberries, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350° (preferably on convection).
  2. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended.
  5. Then fold in butter, followed by ¾ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries.
  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
  7. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes on convection or up to 60 minutes in a standard oven. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.

Note: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Mini-Cheesecakes

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I live in fear of overcooking my baked goods… and I usually shorten the baking time stated in a recipe, especially because I bake on convection. I made these mini-cheesecakes twice because the first time I made them they were undercooked! They were still edible (of course!) and tasty, but not perfect enough to give to my friend for her birthday. 🙂 (We have been eating a lot of cheesecake lately… so glad they are “mini” portion-sized!!) It was difficult to tell that they were undercooked until after they were chilled- I had baked them until they were puffed and set.

For the second batch, I increased the baking time and added two pinches of salt. Thank goodness (…for many reasons… could/should we eat another batch?) they were cooked perfectly. 🙂 They are pure and simple. Perfect to give to my cheesecake-purist friend for her birthday!! …and to bring to Fiesta Friday #11 at the Novice Gardener! This recipe was adapted from Carla Hall of The Chew. She baked them in mini-muffin pans (with 1 teaspoon of crust, baked for 10 minutes) with optional toppings which would be great for a party. A fun touch was to serve them inverted- mine with a fork, my husband’s with a spoon. To each his own! 🙂 Nice!

Yield: Makes 8 mini-cheesecakes

  • 4 honey graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 T  granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 T milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 pinches of coarse salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (convection)(175 degrees C).
  2. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to crush. Add melted butter and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed.
  3. Place liners (I used parchment paper liners) into muffin tins and press 1 1/2 tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each. Using the bottom of a glass, compact the crumbs to form a crust.
  4. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth.
  5. Blend in milk, and then mix in the egg, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth.
  6. Scoop or pour filling on top of crusts. (I use a cookie scoop.)
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 17 minutes, or until puffed, set, and slightly brown on the edges. Cool to room temperature, then chill in refrigerator until serving.
  8. Serve inverted. Can top with berries or chocolate sauce, if desired.

One Year Ago:

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Vanilla Bean Birthday Cheesecake

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My husband spends a lot of time planning his birthday dinner menu, but every year I make him a birthday cheesecake. I try a new recipe almost every year. I made this cheesecake last year for the first time and it was the best I’ve ever made. Super creamy with great vanilla flavor. Nothing beats vanilla bean in a cheesecake! 🙂 I have made cheesecakes in the past with various types of crust- we definitely prefer a graham-cracker crust; this one is great. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. We enjoyed it after a meal of Mustard Chicken with roasted asparagus and baby red potatoes. DELISH.

  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs (about 11 crackers)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a microwave safe dish, melt 5 tablespoons butter. In the bowl of a food processor, chop graham-crackers into crumbs. Then combine graham-cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar. Pulse in melted butter until the crumbs are moist. Pour mixture into a 9-inch springform pan; using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press firmly, forming a 1/2-inch crust up sides of pan. Bake until set, 10 (convection) to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
  2. Reduce temperature to 275 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add remaining cup sugar. Scrape in vanilla seeds; reserve pod for another use. Beat until well combined, about 3 minutes.
  3. Drizzle in eggs, one at a time, stopping occasionally to scrape down bowl. Beat in sour cream and salt. Pour batter into crust.
  4. Bake cheesecake until sides have set but center appears soft, about 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, on convection, 1 hour 45 minutes in a conventional oven. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Run a paring knife around the outside of crust, loosening it from pan. When cool, cover tightly with plastic; let set at least 4 hours or overnight.

Cheesecake Brownies

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I made these to celebrate my cheesecake-loving friend’s birthday! It is a treat to have a cheesecake brownie after lunch!!! 🙂 I did use light cream cheese to make them slightly less indulgent. They were tasty and rich. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living. The cooking time is decreased if using cream cheese rather than mascarpone.

  • Yield: Makes about 5 dozen
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 72% cacao Swiss dark chocolate)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and line with parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In the top of a barely simmering double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter. Remove from heat.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together 3 eggs and 1 cup sugar on high speed until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On low speed, add reserved chocolate mixture and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. When combined, add flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Set aside.
  3. In the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together mascarpone (or cream) cheese, remaining eggs and yolks, remaining sugar, and remaining vanilla on medium speed, until smooth. Pour over chocolate mixture. Bake until cheese mixture is golden and set, about 25 minutes if using cream cheese (on convection) to 35 minutes if using mascarpone cheese. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into about sixty 1-by-1 1/2-inch pieces.

Cheesecakes with Raspberry Hearts

Mini Cheesecake

This is a cute and super tasty Valentine’s Day dessert. I made 1/4 of the recipe, and used warm raspberry jam to make the hearts. I poured the hot water into the baking pan after placing it in the oven- then I only had to worry about spilling it when I took it out! My husband could have easily eaten two. Delicious. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living.

  • Yield: Makes 32 mini-cheesecakes
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 container (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
  • 2 pounds (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together crackers, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar; press 1 tablespoon into bottom of each cup. Bake until set and beginning to color at edges, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer tins to rack to cool.
  2. Puree raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Press through a fine sieve; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar.
  3. With mixer on medium-high, beat cream cheese until fluffy. On low, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow stream. Mix in salt and vanilla until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each (do not overmix) and scraping bowl.
  4. Spoon 3 tablespoons filling over crust in each cup. Drop two dots of raspberry puree about 1 inch apart in cupcake. Drag the tip of a toothpick or wooden skewer down through centers of dots to create a heart.
  5. To bake, set tins in oven in roasting pans filled halfway with hot water; bake until set, about 34 minutes (30 minutes on convection), rotating halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool completely. Refrigerate in tins, uncovered, at least 4 hours; remove from tins. Refrigerate in air-tight containers up to 5 days.

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