Continuing on with my baking with cheese series, this tarte au fromage blanc is the latest adventure - and a delicious adventure it was. One of my favorite tart books is Les Folles Tartes by Christophe Felder, one I purchased back in early 2011 in Paris. I've been eyeing his recipe for this particular tarte for some time now, and what better way to pursue it than to include it in the cheese project. Love it.
Heather Zinn, the proprietor of our local GR Cheese Lady shop was kind enough to order a full fat version of this cheese for me from Bellweather Farms in Sonoma County CA. It's a European style fresh cow's milk cheese, not unlike a creamy goat cheese, with a bit of tang and salt and is also referred to as "fresh farmer's cheese".
I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised at it's creaminess, spreadability and delicious dairy flavor straight out of the tub. Steve and I loved it on our favorite original Triscuit crackers, thinking it would only be enhanced by some herbs, a grind or two of black pepper and perhaps a little succulent fresh tomato. Yeah baby!
I opted to use my standard pâte brisée which I blind baked first so as to avoid an under baked bottom crust once the filling was added and baked. This time I tried a new approach, one I gleaned from reading Thomas Keller's "Bouchon Bakery". It involves leaving an over hanging edge of dough around the tart ring, baking it as such and then eventually trimming off the excess dough after baking. The idea is to cut down on dough shrinkage during the bake. Pretty cool.
Once the ring was lined, I popped it in the freezer on my parchment lined sheet pan for about 15-20 minutes while heating the oven. Then in goes a round of parchment and dried beans as weights and onto the bake. As you see below, I had a few cracks in the dough around the periphery but, when it came time to add the filling, I simply took some small pieces of raw dough and patched them. Okey-dokey.
The filling is a straight forward blending of 400 g fromage blanc, 2 large egg yolks (2 whites comin' up!), a pinch of salt, 90 g cane sugar, 20 g flour, 100 g heavy cream, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, finished off by folding in the 2 whites that have been whisked until fluffy. I added my own zest of two lemons - it seemed so right with this cheese.
Have 50 g of cubed butter set aside to dot on the top of the filling before it all goes into the oven. (Notice my raw dough patches on the crust!)
I decided to trim some of the dough over hang before the final bake - took my serrated knife and gently trimmed away.
The cubed butter on top (seemed like a lot - I would reduce it next time!) . . . .
a 45 minute bake at 375ºF . . . . et voilà!
Pretty pouffy just out of the oven, but after a short time things calmed down and sunk, as a custard type filling is often wont to do. Kind of moonscape like, non?
Once fully cooled, I trimmed the flaky crust edges and eased this baby out of the tart ring. It can be served room temp, or in my case, it went into the fridge, covered, to chill and be served later.
This was destined for dessert at cousin Jen and her husband Scott's lovely woodland home and, since we're deep into blueberry season, it only seemed right to whip up a quick blueberry sauce. A warm up in a saucepan of 2 cups blueberries, a couple of tablespoons of simple syrup, a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Once the juices release a bit, take half the blueberries, purée then strain and add the purée back into the remaining blueberries, cooking a few minutes to thicken. Easy and oh so good. Plus, I had some fresh raspberry purée in the fridge that was begging to be used.
Some chose both the blueberry sauce and raspberry purée while others kept to a solo blueberry arrangement. All were topped with my homemade graham crumble for that just right added crunch.
Creamy, just right lemon-y, fruity, berry-y and graham crunchy in a flaky just right crust. OH. SO. GOOD.
Yes, I would make this again.