9 August 2011

Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte

I've had my eye on this little gem of a recipe for a crazziiilyy long time. I'd never made a cheesecake in any form (unless cheesecake stuffed cookies count :) ) and was dying to pop my cheesecake cherry. The Brown Eyed Baker is one of my favourite food blogs to get lost in with page after page of pure temptation and gorgeous recipes, so when this torte was featured for a second time, now in her Top 10 Favourite Cake list, I knew I just had to make it. Sadly I did not own the correct pan or a springform in any shape or size so simply sat pining after it for far too long. Big news...my house is a springform free zone NO LONGER! I finally went out and invested in my new love, I get irrationally excited about kitchen purchases...I hope this isn't just me and you arn't reading this thinking I'm a total weirdo

Onto the torte, its good. Reaaaalll good. A thick buttery shortbread crust with a fruity jam layer spread over the top which blends into a generous amount of smooth cream cheese filling. There's no skimping in this recipe and that's just my cuppa tea :) However it isn't as sinful as you may think, low fat cream cheese and low fat cottage cheese cut the dreaded calorie count (life's too short to think about such things, but it's always nice if that 3rd hunk of a slice is a little less guilt ridden)

It isn't that tricky to make, unless you are a complete goof-ball like me and partially drop the baked crust when taking it out of the oven...sad times. Half my beautiful crust was now a jigsaw puzzle which I feebly tried to piece back together into something remotely presentable. I then proceeded to drive to a friends house with the patchwork crust and filling to borrow their oven, as mine is (as previously mentioned) not a real oven and I didn't want it's temperamental tendencies to ruin my cheesecake quest!

If you enlarge it you can see the right hand side is pieced together rather shoddily!
Looks gross but I disturbingly like this picture..
Puffed up straight out of the oven...
And deflated a little later

Apart from those self-inflicted niggles it was a breeze to make, honest! And just proves that if I can make this then, my goodness, anyone can :) I really don't think I have a negative thing to say about this delightful dessert, the texture is dreamily smooth and contrasts with the crisp crust perfectly. My crust may look a little overdone but it tasted wonderful so, aesthetics aside, I was really pleased with my first ever cheesecake! It is a definite new favourite in this house, the fact I had 2 pieces before lunch today proves this...and maybe next time I make it I wont be such a klutz and it will look as good as it tastes :)

Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally a Dorie Greenspan recipe
Makes 1 9inch Torte

For the crust
1 3/4 cups (8 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 1/4 oz) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp, 6oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling
1/3 cup (3 1/2 oz) + 1 Tbsp jam*
9 oz cream cheese
8 oz (1 cup) cottage cheese
3/4 cup (4 3/4 oz) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature

For the crust: Butter a 9 inch springform pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess
Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to blend
Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas
In a separate bowl stir together the yolks and vanilla, add to the food processor and pulse until the mix begins to clump together
Turn out the dough into a bowl/onto a surface and either press into the pan, going up the sides by 1 1/2 inches, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or if you wish to roll it - gather the dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes, then roll to the desired size
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C
Line the inside of the crust with foil and weigh down with dried rice/beans/pie weights or coins and bake for 20 minutes - you do not want the crust to be too brown

For the filling: Lower the oven temperature to 350F/180C
Stir the jam and spread it over the bottom of the crust, can do this while it is still warm
Put the cottage cheese and cream cheese in the food processor and process for a few minutes until silky smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice
Add the sugar, salt and spices and process for another 30 seconds
Add the eggs and process for another minute, scraping the sides as needed, until the mix is completely blended
Pour on top of the jam covered base and bake for 60-70 minutes until uniformly puffed and no longer jiggly
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and leave to cool, the torte will collapse as it cools into a nice, uniform layer
Run a blunt knife between the crust and the pan, remove the sides of the springform. If the crust is higher than the filling and you prefer a neater look, trim off the excess with a serrated knife**
Chill before serving and dust with icing sugar if you wish

* I read some other reviews that said, although lovely, it could do with a little more jam. So after I weighed and spread out the 1/3 cup, I added another Tbsp for good measure :)
** I didn't make the sides of my crust tooo high so when I poured in the filling it was in line/just over the top of the crust. After it had cooled and sank it was pretty much perfectly level

Less rambling printable version :)

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