Monday, August 18, 2008

Minty Peach & Cardamom Goat Cheese Tart

Peach Goat Cheese Tart (01) by MeetaK 

I am a tart kind of a girl. I really enjoy the whole concept of tarts. Crust, filling and topping it’s like having the best of everything in one dessert. Especially in the summertime, when there are so many types of fruit just begging to be used, there is often nothing easier than whizzing up a tart crust, making a filling and simply topping it all of with the sweetest of fruits.

Having said that, I have to admit that not every tart crust is edible and not every filling makes me jump with delight. How often have I had a tart where the filling was incredibly divine but the crust was either, too soggy, too greasy, too chewy, or if my luck was really running out, all three. Then there were times were, in my opinion, the crust was quite palatable, but the filling had a lot left to desire.

A while back I started experimenting with several types of flavors, ingredients and ideas. In the beginning I had a bit of trouble keeping track of all the ideas and all the possibilities I came up with.

Normally I have my big brainstorms at night. Just before my eyes shut I am hit with a fantastic idea. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night because I just figured out the solution to an issue I was brooding over for the past few weeks. Tom has gotten used to these outbursts in the middle of the night. Mainly because the ideas were so darned good they normally left him stumped. My problem was trying to remember each detail of my brainstorms the next morning!

A little while back as I was getting into bed,I found a small notepad and a pencil lying on my night-table. I had to smirk – trust Tom to come up with that great idea!

The notepad is almost full now – a few sides are filled with several illegible scribblings for my ideas with this tart. The notepad is simply ingenious as I can see the ideas evolving each morning and am inspired to improve on them during the day.

As I just mentioned a few of the pages contain flavor ideas, ingredient pairings and other options for this tart. It took me a while and a lot of testing till I found what seems to be the perfect tart.

Now, I have not re-invented the wheel here and I am not shouting Eureka! But I am shouting “Bloody delicious!”

Peach Goat Cheese Tart (04) by MeetaK

For the crust I used simple store-bought caramel biscuits, which were perfect for their lightness and crispness. I experimented with a few types of cookies and self made dough types too. Although I came up with a really great dough recipe, for the flavor combination in this tart the caramel biscuits were really the best. I also tried gingersnap cookies and while they made a lovely alternative, I preferred the delicate caramel flavor, which highlighted the entire tart wonderfully.

Then I tackled the filling. I am not really a buttercream person. As a matter of fact if it is not a Daring Baker’s challenge I hardly ever make buttercream. I also do not like the extremely rich cream or cheesecake taste in my tarts. Maybe that will explain why I do not often indulge in a cheesecake. As I mixed and played around with several different types of cheeses and dairy products I finally came across the perfect combination of rich and tangy, not too sweet but deliciously satisfying. Mascarpone gave it that richness without that cream flavor, quark gave it a lightness and the goat cream cheese made it exquisite.

Once I got the right consistency and taste of the filling, I wanted to tackle the spice. Vanilla somehow did not make it - it gave the filling a sweetness I was not really looking for. I went with cinnamon but it was not very summery. The third time I made the filling my choice fell on cardamom. What a difference a spice can make! This was just perfect. At this stage I was really getting excited. After all I had been playing around with the creation of this tart for 3 weeks and I was getting the feeling Tom and Soeren were beginning to get tired of all the variations.

The fruit of choice was the easiest. Peaches were on my mind since the beginning of this tart. They were so sweet, juicy and ripe that it was a true pleasure simply biting into each fruit. I had to feature them on this tart - pure! No addition of any preserve! All I did was add a sprinkling of my favorite nuts, pistachios and a small handful of chopped mint. Et voila! Was this my perfect tart?

Almost - as I was just about to add the filling onto the crust, I did have one more brainstorm. Unusually for me it was late afternoon - but I believe this final addition really made the cake exclusively decadent!

A sprinkling of fleur de sel.

Peach Tart Diptych (01) by MeetaK

 

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

For the crust

230 - 250g  plain caramel biscuits, finely ground
50 - 75g butter, melted

For the filling

100g quark
200g goat cream cheese
200g mascarpone
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Good pinch of fleur de sel

For the topping

3-4 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into thin slices
Handful of pistachios, chopped
Handful of mint leave, chopped
 

Method

For the crust

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C. Blend the melted butter and ground caramel cookies in a bowl until the crumbs are evenly coated and moistened. Tip the mixture into a 22 cm diameter tart pan and using your finger press the mixture evenly. Use a small bowl or the measuring cup to really even out all the biscuit crumbs on the base and the sides.

Bake the crust in the oven for approx. 8-10 minutes or until it starts to brown. Take out and allow to cool completely.

For the filling

In a mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients, except the fleur de sel, until smooth. Adjust sweetness according to taste. Finally add the pinch of fleur de sel.

Spread the cream cheese filling in the crust and cool in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes until the filling sets.

Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the filling in concentric circles. Sprinkle with pistachios and mint leaves.

 


Verdict

Peach Goat Cheese Tart (05) by MeetaK

All the effort that went into the creation of the tart was so worth it. There was not one part of the tart that did not taste spectacular. Tom and Soeren are my usual judges and they are quite critical. However, they had only praise for this cake. I took the leftovers to work and my colleagues, who are aware of my food mania, were really blown away.

The best compliment came from the Prof., my boss. I am pretty darned sure he was not expecting this. When I told him I had one slice of tart leftover and his name was written on it he said "I hope it's not one of these American layer cakes!" It made me laugh loud and I said "What do you think?" He followed me into the kitchen and I gave him the slice, which he took into the office. After a few minutes he called out from his office, which is across the corridor, "This is incredible!" "It's just how I like my cake, crispy crust, sweet/savory filling and sweet fruit!" THAT was my ratification that I am not the only one on the look out for the perfect tart.

You might like cakes and tarts from WFLH:

ChoCaramelTart 12
Chocolate and Caramel Tart
Cranberry Chocolate tart 04
Chocolate Cranberry Tart
Lemon Meringue Pie 01
Lemon Meringue Pie

From around the blogs:

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

47 comments :

  1. Meeta, this looks like perfection!! I love that you added the pistachios on top :) I always know what blog to turn to when I need a pistachio-inspiration!

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  2. Lovely tart Meeta! It looks perfect! And I agree with you'r late night branstorms. I usually have that when I want to submit a unique recipe for an event! They really drive me crazy an I could exactly understand out u're words here. And I live in India and the season here is monsoon ;) What fruits can I try for this monthly mingle of August ?

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  3. Hi Meeta,
    I have been reading your blog for a while now, and I HAD to leave a comment after reading the infectiously lively narration of your tart and after drooling over the pictures. You are simply amazing ! Reading your blog always makes my day - and the energy and light spirit that shines through your words always inspires me.
    Thank You for all you do.
    Sup

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  4. Thanks for the comments folks!

    Tony - Yeas I guess pistachio lovers get their kick here!

    Nirmala - try anything oranges, pineapples, coconut etc. I presume these are readily available currently

    Sup - these were very touching words. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave the comment. It put a smile on my face for today!

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  5. Hi Meeta,
    I have been a silent admirer of your blog for a long time but one look at your gorgeous tart today & the efforts you took to make it... absolutely compelled me to leave my first comment. Being an Indian who is relatively new to Deutschland, your blog has helped me in ways more than one.. Thank you very much!
    Can you please tell me which caramel biscuits did you use for the tart shell?
    Thanks in advance!
    Neha

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  6. Oh dear... I am not a tart gal... though only from lack of exposure, I've never made one!

    I have never seen a tart that's made me want to go and buy a tart tin more!!

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  7. I've actually never been much of a "tart girl"; but after making a few, I've come around to them. Yours is absolutely lovely!

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  8. Meeta, i just don't have any words for these beautiful pictures! It enlightens your heart. Really!
    I have never made pies and tarts. Mabe it's time to try some, with your encouraging pictures. :-)

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  9. I'm glad you get to share your magnificent food ideas with us, besides the hubby! :)
    What a colorful, fresh and stunning tart, Meeta. It screams "eat me!" :)

    Oh, and I think your hubby and mine would get along really well. Joao is used to my talking when I sleep, and I talk about food a lot... :D

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  10. that looks divine Meeta! yeah, me not a fan of tarts either, but your pic is just tooooooooo good not to love it! I actually like the peach and goat cheese combo too! I don't know what a wuark is, but I'm gonna find out, and I think I'll be trying this with a fig and cheese combo!:)

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  11. Wow, this is spectacular -- nicely done, Meeta!

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  12. Such beautiful photos! I have never made a tart in all of my baking! This looks out of this world!

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  13. Just gorgeous; it just so happens that I have all the ingredients in the house just now, and I do believe that this should be on our menu soon. This looks too tasty to pass up, I think!

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  14. caramel biscuits. let's see if i can find those. you sold me on this when you said 'mascarpone'. try saffron and peach next time. spectacular.

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  15. Meeta, you've outdone yourself with this one. I am quite certain I would never tire of eating all of the tarts you made to find the perfect one. Your family is lucky indeed!

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  16. This sounds lovely! It reminds me that I should make one of my favourite salads: basil, peach and tomato with balsamic vinegar.

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  17. It looks like your experimentation has turned into pure deliciousness!!

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  18. "American Layer Cakes..." I don't think so! That sounds like an amazing tart. So beautiful, too. I love experimenting with tart crust, too, but don't have bursts of genius in the middle of the night like you do. I'd love to make this!

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  19. Hi there,

    Is goat's cream cheese similar to goat's curd?

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  20. Meeta, everything is so beautiful! Love your blog :)

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  21. Meeta,
    This tart is so gorgeous and the flavors are sheer genius. I too get a lot of my ideas at night or in the wee hours of the morning. I think I'll put a little pad of paper and a pen there from now on (thank you Tom!) I enjoyed your post. Beautifully done!

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  22. I would never have thought of putting all those flavours together. It sounds wonderful.

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  23. I love the combination of any cheese with fruit. To me it almost always work. Like apple and a strong cheddar for instance.. Peaches and goat's cheese...a match made in food heaven!

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  24. That tart looks great! I like the green that the pistachios and mint adds.

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  25. Ooohh... that does look yummy! Your photos are as usual just wonderful. I left you something for you to pick up at my blog. Please do so Meeta!!

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  26. Meeta, your tart looks fantastic. I love tarts as much as you do!

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  27. Thanks everyone for all these great comments. I am loving the fact that many of you are finding pleasure in my experiments!

    Neha: The caramel cookies are from "Kaufland" called Stereo. They come in a double pack and taste great with coffee!

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  28. Very enticing combination. I love peaches when their good and ripe; I was planning on doing something grand with mine this week but buckled and just enjoyed them with a buffalo mozzarella salad. If only I'd seen this first...

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  29. Meeta gorgeous pics and looks very yummy

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  30. There is a suprise for you in my blog. Click here to know what the suprise is, http://kitchenflavours.blogspot.com/2008/07/fruit-chaat.html

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  31. i love tarts, and this one just looks absolutely gorgeously delish. will definitely have to try this before the peaches disappear from the market!

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  32. This may seem like a stupid question but what is quark??

    To me quarks are elementary particles that make up our existance....yes I'm a Physicist by day.

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  33. Thanks once again! This is really making me happy. It will make me spend more time in the kitchen experimenting and sharing with you.

    Ellemay, Quark is a type of tangy cheese - it's closest relative could be sour cream, ricotta or cottage cheese. But having said that quark has it's own distinct taste. I've added a link in the recipe to more details about quark. Hope it helps that physicist mind ;-)

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  34. Congratulations on creating a wonderful recipe!! It's an exhausting process, but there's nothing better when people love it in the end!! It just sounds so wonderful and looks so delectable...

    It's funny how ideas can creep up towards you all of a sudden, isn't it?

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  35. Hi , i was kinda waiting for this post , after seeing the pics on flickr , haha and now i'm so late. Have to admit, this tart looks so gorgeous even a blind man would not be able to resist it.Such a shame i could not get a slice of it !

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  36. Amazing pictures as always. I need to get myself a proper tart pan and start making this.

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  37. Hi Meeta, Greetings from Malaysia. Just discovered your wonderful blog. Your blog is really inspiring and full of ideas. The peach tart is a must do for me.It looks so delish that I'm drooling from here.

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  38. Kajal - late noone is ever late for this tart. glad you like it.

    jude - ikea is the magic word for tart pans - at least that#s where i got this one

    zarina, thanks for stopping by. look forward to seeing more of you!

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  39. Meeta, all I can say is that this tart is enduringly beautiful (to look at and to eat). Thank you for the recipe! I especially LOVED the cardamom and mint. However, do you have any tips on pitting peaches? I had a terribly hard time with the pits.

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  40. Eeshani, I am so glad you liked this tart. Pitting peaches is easiest when the fruit is ripe. Simply cut the fruit along the pit and twist one side off. The one with the pit can easily be removed by placing a small sharp knife and gently easing it away from the flesh.

    Hope it helps!

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  41. It's great and delicious!
    I'm a tart girl too, literally. I like all of them, with vegetables and of curse with fruits.
    This one is a special one for me, I love goat cheese, but I never could combine it with 'sweet' things. Thank you!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta