Thursday, January 14, 2016

Baking Experiments: Cheese Tarts

Last weekend, I decided to stay home and make something useful of my time. I was looking around for what I could do and found a cheese tart recipe on the MFM superfine flour box. It looked simple, so I went out to buy some butter and started on it.

This was the outcome:

home baked recipe
Home baked cheese tarts from scratch

I started out by measuring the ingredients. Basically, the tart base dough is made of butter (I used pure salted butter - not the ones mixed with vegetable oils), whole eggs, superfine flour, icing sugar and salt (I used Himalayan pink salt because I don't have any other kinds at home).

butter superfine flour icing sugar egg
Tart base ingredients sans the Himalayan salt. I was trying to decide which jam to use

Mixing the dough was pretty easy but figuring out how to roll it out and put it into the metal tart cups was tricky. In the end, the best option was to divide the dough into small balls enough for all the tart cups we had and then pressing them into the cups and using my thumb, distribute the dough to an even thickness to form a tart base. If the dough was too fragile to work with, you just had to stick it all in the fridge for some time (15 minutes) so that it would firm up.

convoluted cups
Aluminium tart cups (not sure what the correct term is)

Mum gave me a pointer to put beans into the the tart cups when baking the tart base to ensure the biscuit base has a cavity for the fillings later. I lined the raw dough cups with grease proof paper and poured some green beans into them before baking. The baking took around 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. The pastry cups were left to cool while the cheese filling was prepared.

golden brown pastry
Tart base after baking
After opening up 2 bottles of organic jams, and looking skeptically at the third tiny jar of marmalade, we decided to go with Nutella instead. My stash of Nutella was a bit lumpy coming straight from the fridge. A hot water bath helped to smoothen it out but piping it onto the cheese filling was pretty tedious because it solidified too fast. Note to self, next round use cooking chocolate!

hot water bath to molten chocolate
Nutella to the rescue when the organic jams didn't make the cut
The cheese tart filling was whipped up using cream cheese, icing sugar (we learned that this is important and cannot be replaced by sweetened whipping cream), a little corn starch, whole eggs and a little whipping cream (we used a sweetened soya based one - turned out not too overly rich). After pouring in the cream cheese filling and drizzling the Nutella into the pastry base, the whole thing was baked again for another 15 minutes and it was done!

Feedback from mum and my colleague - they liked it! :) This would be the first success from scratch!

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