Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TWD: Creamiest Lime Cream Cheese Tart

Today's Tuesdays with Dorie post is brought to you by Linda of Tender Crumb who selected the recipe Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie. My twist is a cream cheese topping instead of meringue. Check out her blog for the original recipe (the one I have included here is my adaptation).

Whenever I see the word "meringue" in a recipe I tend to skip over it and pick another recipe, which is exactly what I was tempted to do today, but then I remembered that when I joined TWD I made the commitment to make the majority of the recipes, like 'em or not, for the experience of widening my baking horizons and being open to new tastes. I'm glad I persevered because this one was a hit!

Side note: I don't like meringue for a few reasons

  • It leaves you with the question of what to do with the yolks
  • It doesn't keep well
  • I am not overly fond of the texture

  • However, I was intrigued by the lime cream part of the recipe as I'd never made lemon cream but it has been something on my "to bake" list. See that little orange gadget in the picture below? It works surprisingly well. Another Tupperware gadget that I can't live without. All you do is insert and squeeze.

    *TIP* Re: Juicing Citrus: I microwave my lemons/limes (whole, uncut fruit) for 20 seconds then roll them on the counter to soften them before juicing. You get so much more juice that way!

    The original plan was to make mini tarts and serve them with whipped cream, but at the last minute, inspiration struck and I slathered on an easy cream cheese topping, much like the one on Marie Callender's Lemon Cream Cheese Pie. The result was a delicious tart. The lime added an unexpected flavor dimension but balanced out perfectly with the sweet-tart cream cheese layer and buttery, flaky pie crust.

    My adaptation of Dorie's recipe is below. What a great recipe to end the month of August with for TWD. And, unlike meringue, this tart tastes even better the next day as the cheese and lime flavors mellow and mature.

    Creamiest Lime Cream Cheese Tart
    Adapted from Dorie Greenspan | 9" tart

    1 recipe basic single crust pastry

    1/2 cup sugar
    Grated zest of 2 limes
    2 large eggs, preferably at room temp
    1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    1/2 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
    1 tsp cornstarch
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

    1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg

    1. Lime Cream: Put the sugar and zest into a heatproof bowl that can be set over a double boiler or pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest between your fingertips for a few minutes, until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lime is strong. Whisk in the eggs, then whisk in the juice, ginger and cornstarch.

    2. Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels is tepid. Cook until it reaches 180 degrees F. Whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. You’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. The tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience – getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

    3. As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove from the heat and strain into a blender/food processor (I used my mini Braun hand blender). Let it cool until it reaches 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes. Turn the blender to high speed and add the butter a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. After all the butter is in, continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If you find the machine is getting really hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest in between beats.

    4. Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. It can be frozen airtight for up to 2 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

    5. Cream Cheese Layer: Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add in sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Add in egg and beat just until mixed in. Do not overbeat.

    6. Assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out pastry dough and place in 9" fluted tart pan. Spread chilled lime cream over pastry then spread cream cheese layer on top. Smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 50-55 minutes until top is golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack then refrigerate to chill thoroughly before serving. Store refrigerated.


    Linda said...

    Your adaptation sounds fantastic - I love cheesecake, so this sounds right up my alley. I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

    Thank you for baking along with me this week!

    PS. fantastic tip about nuking the citrus before juicing!

    sarahe said...

    great adaptation! i will have to try this one for sure

    TeaLady said...

    Sounds like an almost Cheese Cake with the cream cheese. Creative variation. Love it.

    Liz said...

    Cream cheese with the lime tart sounds delicious! What a nice change from ho-hum meringue.

    petite nyonya said...

    I would love to try a piece of this. Creamy cream cheese with citrus flavor sounds so good!

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