“Add zest of one lemon.” How fun it is to read this in the recipe you’re making and go pick a fresh lemon off your own tree. There are many dwarf varieties of lemon and other citrus that grow perfectly happily in pots — so you don’t even need to be a serious land owner to enjoy this little gift of nature.
Last Fall, Filoli held their annual Autumn Festival and I entered this ‘skinny cheesecake’ and won 3rd place! I will be making it again to serve at this Saturday’s festivities where we will be signing the cookbook compiled from the winning recipes. If you’re in the area, come on out — Filoli always puts on a great party!
Lemon Fromage Blanc Tart with Olive Oil Cookie Crust
Makes 1 9inch tart; serves 8
5 Tablespoons fruity olive oil, e.g. Bariani Extra Virgin
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained of seeds and pulp
1/16 teaspoon Boyajian lemon oil
1 1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup organic, unrefined cane sugar (also known as unrefined cane juice) a pinch fleur de sel, crumbled with your fingers (or kosher salt)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Mix oil, zest and lemon juice and lemon oil. Add sugar.
3. In another bowl, stir oat flour and salt with a whisk to break up any lumps
4. Combine oil and sugar mixture with dry ingredients. Stir until mixture comes together. Dough will appear moist, unlike a typical pastry dough.
5. Using a rubber spatula, press dough into bottom of a 9 inch tart pan with removeable bottom
6. Bake unfilled tart shell 20 minutes, until golden brown
7. Let crust cool slightly before filling. Can be made a day ahead; keep covered airtight with foil.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
7.5 ounces fromage blanc (I use 1 Bellwether Farms tub), softened
1/2 cup organic, unrefined cane sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained of seeds and pulp
a pinch fleur de sel, crumbled with your fingers (or kosher salt)
1. Soften cream cheese and fromage blanc by leaving at room temperature at least 30 minutes
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
3. Cream the cream cheese and fromage blanc with the paddle attachment of a standing mixer
4. Slowly add sugar, mixing to blend
5. Add egg and egg yolk, mixing to blend
6. Add lemon juice, zest, salt and cornstarch, mixing to blend
7. Pour filling over baked tart crust
8. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until filling is just set. Cool tart at room temperature on a rack. Chill tart until firm, at least 3 hours.
Kitchen Coach Tips
- Be sure and get the cream cheese and fromage blanc creamed thoroughly so there are no little lumps that will throw off the texture of your filling. Best was to do this is to not rush the cream cheese and fromage blanc as it softens before you even put it in your mixer. Soft cream cheese = smooth filling with no lumps. Sorta soft cream cheese = sorta smooth filling. You want smooth filling.
- For garnish, dehydrated lemon slices are nice — slice lemon thinly. Carefully pluck out the seeds with the tip of your knife. Put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and pop it in the oven (after removing your tart from baking), and turn off the heat. If you have a convection oven, turn on the fan, but keep the heat off. Leave in oven until lemon slices are dried, about an hour.
- In the photo, you may wonder what the garnish spots are. I made a simple syrup with lemon juice as the liquid, then reduced it. Don’t bother. The dots spread and looked gastly in the minutes following the photo. Just stick with the dehyrated lemon slices, or a bit of freshly grated zest.