These easy tartlets pack some major flavor and instantly upgrade your menu. They're just as good with wine in the evening as they are with tea mid afternoon, or even coffee in the morning. I've tested all three options and given the appropriate stamp of approval. You're welcome.
Cherries are in season right now so they're cheap, juicy, and asking to be added to just about every recipe. So far this is one of my favorites for this deep scarlet fruit. There's amaretto in the compote which adds sweetness and balances the lime zests and the subtle tartness of the goat cheese in the cheesecake. You heard me right there, goat cheese cheesecake. Yum and yum again.
To get started you'll need:
tartlet pan (or two tart pans, or two small pie plates like these in the shop).
stand mixer (or handheld electric mixer)
parchment paper (or waxed)
pie weights (or dry rice or beans will work)
For the Dough: (makes enough for two dozen thin shells)
2 cups of flour
2/3 cups of confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter chilled
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cheesecake Filling: (makes enough for two dozen)
5 ounces goat cheese (room temperature)
6 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature)
1/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt
3 large eggs
(adapted from TheKitchn)
For the Cherry Amaretto Compote: (makes enough for two dozen)
2 cups pitted cherries
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
juice from half of a lime
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons amaretto
Making the dough:
Any tart dough recipe will work nicely (tart doughs are usually sweeter than pie doughs, although a pie dough would work fine instead if you have a tried and true favorite). I used an adapted version from Carole Bloom's, The Essential Baker. This dough is very easy to work with and freezes well if you have leftovers.
Add flour, sugar, and salt to a medium sized bowl, whisk together to mix dry ingredients evenly. Cut the cold butter into small slices and quarter the slices and add to the same bowl as your mixed dry ingredients. Cut and mix the butter pieces into the flour mixture using a pastry blender. Stop when the mixture becomes small pebble-sized pieces.
Add the egg, whipping cream, and vanilla to a small bowl and mix until blended. Pour this into the medium bowl with the still very lumpy dough. Continue blending with a pastry blender until the dough becomes smooth and well, dough like.
Use a rubber spatula to transfer to contents of the bowl onto a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Cover the dough with another sheet of plastic wrap and gently push on the dough to shape it into a thick disc. Refrigerate. The original recipe calls for a 2 hour chill, but I've seen other similar versions call for as little as 20 minutes, just make the dough disk flatter so it will chill faster and evenly if you're in more of a rush).
Preheat oven to 375.
Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a small amount of flour as well and cover with parchment paper. Use rolling pin to roll until flat and thin.
Working quickly cut the dough into small squares approximately 3 inches by 3 inches. Lift the squares and press gently into an unprepared tartlet hole in the tartlet pan. Gently pull the dough up the sides of each tartlet insert, again pressing the dough to the side of the pan and cut off any extra dough from the top of each shell.
Chill tartlets for 15 minutes.
Cut foil into 3 inch by 3 inch squares and gently insert into each tartlet shell to create a foil cup. Add pie weights or dry rice or beans to the foil cups. Bake for 14 minutes. Remove from oven. Discard foil and weights. Cool to room temperature.
Okay, you're done with the hardest part. The rest is super easy, promise!
Goat Cheese and Lime Cheesecake Filling:
Turn oven down to 300 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together the room temperature goat cheese, cream cheese, and sugar.
Add the room temperature sour cream, honey, vanilla, and pinch of salt and mix until just blended.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and zest from half of a lime, and mix again until just blended.
Using a half cup measuring cup scoop and pour the mixture into the room temperature tartlet shells still in the tartlet pan. Bake the filled shells in the tartlet pan on top of a flat baking sheet to aid in even baking.
Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheesecake is just starting to set (the centers will still jiggle a little at this point, but the edges will be noticeably firmer when they're ready). Remove from heat and chill for at least two hours.
Cherry Amaretto Compote:
In a saucepan add the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, juice from half a lime, and vanilla. Stir. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Turn burner to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring and macerating the cherries as the mixture heats. Boil for 3-4 minutes at a medium setting.
Turn the burner to low and add the amaretto. Allow to cook on low for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.
Cool to room temperature (or serve warm).
Take chilled tartlets from the refrigerator and add a small spoonful of compote to the top of each tartlet. Add a single fresh cherry and garnish with lime zest.
All done! Your pretty little tartlets are ready to serve! Of course each of these three recipe components are perfectly suitable (and delicious) for use individually or with other flavor combinations. That cherry compote is certainly destined for pancakes this weekend. And I'm already daydreaming of ways I'll reinvent these little tarts as the seasons change. The flavor possibilities are truly endless with a little imagination! I'd love to know if you make these tartlets and any of the new combinations or changes you make!