If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will notice something, there are not many recipes for desserts. In fact I could probably count the number on less than one hand.
Looking backward in time…
In June of 2015 there was Lavender Nut Cake.
In February of 2015 there was a Panettone Bread Pudding. It was a wonderful way to use up the leftover holiday Panettone.
In December of 2014 there was Raspberry Streusel Bars. They were delicious if I do say so myself, very ‘more-ish’.
And lastly (my first blogged dessert recipe) in November of 2014, a recipe for Pot of Chocolate. This one is special for a couple of reasons. First, it was my mother’s secret recipe and second, it was the first recipe of mine to be featured on Fiesta Friday. I was a very new blogger at the time and it was Fiesta Friday #41. It’s now Fiesta Friday #382 and here I am, still part of the party . You can find the link to Fiesta Friday here. It’s a virtual (aren’t most things now) party, a collection of posts hosted by Angie. Come on over to read a collection of blogs about cooking, gardening, decorating and crafts.
I am shocked to realize that I haven’t posted a dessert recipe in six years!
Here is number 5, now I have a full handful.
This recipe is by Alison Roman and comes from her cookbook Nothing Fancy. It appealed to me because it’s not too sweet and has a salty component. Salty things are my weakness. Although it is essentially a variation of cheesecake, it’s not cloyingly sweet or rich. That’s especially true if you use labne instead of cream cheese as I did.
Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart
Ingredients for the crust:
- 5 ounces Ritz crackers or Nilla wafers (the Ritz crackers add the salty part). See notes below.
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch of kosher salt
Ingredients for the filling:
- 1 pound full fat cream cheese at room temperature, or 2 cups labne
- 1 cup sour cream or full fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons of fresh grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange juice
- Flaky sea salt
- Fresh fruit for serving
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
- Make the crust. Pulse the crackers in a food processor until they are a fine crumb but not powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the brown sugar and butter, then the salt. Use your hands and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated and texture is like that of wet sand.
- Press the crust into an unlined 9-inch tart or springform pan, or cake pan lined with parchment. Using the bottom of a glass or small bowl, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake until golden brown on the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Make the filling. Combine the cream cheese (or labne), sour cream (or yogurt) and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until very smooth and well blended, scrape down the sides as needed to combine everything. Add the eggs, fruit juice and a pinch of salt. Keep processing until even smoother and creamier.
- Pour the filling into the baked crust and bake until set and it no longer jiggles when tapped, about 25 to 35 minutes. It won’t brown, that’s ok.
- Turn the oven off and open the oven door a crack. Let the tart sit in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack on the counter to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. This process should prevent cracks but did not in my case. Simply disguise it with fruit, it doesn’t make any difference to the flavor.
- To serve, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and put some fresh fruit on top or the side.
Note: She says she has not tested off brand crackers or vanilla wafers, she has only used Nabisco brands.
I used labne (sometimes also spelled labneh) which is often (though not always) more strained than Greek yogurt, so it’s ultra-thick and spreadable, almost like cream cheese. It can replace cream cheese in some recipes although it is much more tart. I also used grapefruit juice, another tart flavor although often more sweet as well.
If you use cream cheese I might recommend using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream if you would like to retain some of the tartness.
You can make this up to 3 days ahead but wrap it tightly so it doesn’t pick up any off flavors from the refrigerator.