Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tarte Goyere -- A Cheese Tart

The recipe is from the same book as the Baked Stuffed Pumpkin (page 20).  The name of the recipe tells you it is an old version!  The text in the book says, "Cheese tarts, both sweetened and not, have been eaten since the Middle Ages.  This version may be served either hot or cold."

I used this recipe as a savory main dish accompanied by a large bowl of mixed vegetable salad. 

1 8 ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
2 eggs, separated
pinch salt, white pepper (I used black pepper)
1/4 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp cream (I used sour cream)
1/2 to 1 cup strong cheese (parmesan, rouquefort, sharp cheddar) 
    (I used blue cheese, a little over 1/2 cup))
1 8-inch pie crust, unbaked

Beat egg yolk, cream cheese, cream and seasonings until smooth.

Add strong cheese, beat until well blended.

Whip egg whites and fold into cheese mixture.  Pour into prepared pie crust and bake in the bottom half of a preheated 375 degree oven 20 minutes, or until pastry is well-browned and cheese is firm.  If cheese browns too quickly, cover with a piece of brown paper or foil.

(I baked mine in a straight-sided 8 inch diameter cake pan since I have no 8 inch pie pan or 8 inch tart pan.  The quantity for the pan seemed just right.)

Before going into the oven
Puffy when it came out of the oven
Settled a bit when it cooled

Other resources tell me that recipes for cheese tarts have remained nearly the same despite the passing of over 500 years.  This version uses the whipped egg whites folded into the batter of eggs, cheese, and spices; basically making it a Chiffon Cheese Tart!  When I have made similar tarts (in particular with onions and brie cheese, an "Ember Tart"), the cooked filling was dense.  I expected this to be fluffier and was not disappointed.

The Verdict:  As the friend who tried it with me said, "This one is a keeper!"  I loved the flavor.  The blue cheese made itself known and the thyme was a pleasant undertone, much more muted than when I tasted the batter.  Since the thyme made pleasant speckles in the batter, I didn't worry about the black pepper doing the same.  The filling was fluffy, not dense at all.  I thought about using more blue cheese the next time I try it but in all honesty, I think the strength of its flavor was just right.  Not overwhelming.

It was good for dinner and then good for lunch right out of the refrigerator the next day.  We thought it would make a good finger-food appetizer if you made it in mini-muffin cups, especially with a little diced ham or crispy bacon mixed in.  If you didn't want to go to the trouble of making a lot of little appetizers, you could make the 8 inch size and then cut narrow slices.

Note:  Cooking it in the bottom part of the oven was a good idea; the bottom of the crust was fully cooked and not soggy or raw tasting.

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