Week 174: Chocolate cheese tart

The Hokkaido cheese tart hype is pretty much over on our sunny island. In the midst of it, people were queuing 2 to 3 hours just to get their hands of those tiny dessert. I was lucky enough to have visited Tokyo during that period, and tried them in their land of origin.

I have to admit, they are pretty yummy. And it is odd that I never really had the urge to bake them despite the hundreds of recipes online.

Finally, it was the recipe from Whisknfold that peaked my interest and curiosity. Kudos to the nicely done video and detailed recipe! I admit I took a few shortcuts and was a tad liberal with little changes here and there, and ended up with a nowhere-near-perfect rendition. They are pretty delicious nonetheless. And I am now motivated to keep trying until I get that perfect result one day.

Makes 4 x 8cm tarts

For the chocolate tart shell

225g plain flour

25g cocoa powder

100g icing sugar

200g unsalted butter, cold

2 large egg yolks

1) Sift flour, cocoa powder and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade.

2) Add the cold butter, cut into cubes and pulse until mixture has become homogeneous small lumps.

3) Add the egg yolks and process until dough has come together to form a ball.

4) Cling wrap the dough and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

5) Roll out the dough to 4mm thickness and line 4 x 8cm tart rings. Freeze until required. There will be plenty of leftover dough which can be frozen and use at a later time.

6) Preheat oven to 180C fan and blind bake the tarts for 15 mins.

7) Remove tarts from the oven, remove the covering and allow to cool.

For the macerated cherries

12 fresh cherries, pitted and halved

30g water

35g sugar

30g Kirsch

1) Place cherries into a bowl.

2) In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a light boil, making sure that the sugar has melted completely.

3) Remove syrup from heat and stir in the Kirsch.

4) Pour syrup over the cherries in the bowl. Cling wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight.

For chocolate cheese filling

100g whole milk

125g cream cheese

63g mascarpone

40g unsalted butter

50g icing sugar, sifted

1 large egg

50g dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 tsp chocolate extract

1) In a saucepan, add milk, cream cheese, mascarpone and butter and stir over low heat until cheeses melt.

2) Remove from heat, stir in egg and icing sugar, then return pot to stove and continue stirring over low heat until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

3) Remove from heat and strain mixture into a bowl with dark chocolate.

4) Stir until chocolate is melted, add chocolate extract and stir until mixture is smooth.

5) Allow the chocolate cheese mixture to cool in an ice bath.

6) Strain and pat dry the macerated cherries from above.

7) When cool, fill piping bag with chocolate cheese mixture. Place 3 cherries at the bottom of each tart then pipe the chocolate cheese mixture into tart shells covering the cherries.

8) Bake in preheated oven at 200C fan for 10 min.

For the chantilly cream

22g mascarpone

22g icing sugar

150g heavy cream, very cold

1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Cherries for garnishing, optional

1) Place mascarpone, icing sugar, heavy cream and vanilla bean paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk.

2) Whisk on high speed until soft peaks formed.

3) Fill whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a petal tip.

4) Pipe whipped cream onto the top of the cooled chocolate cheese tart and garnish with a cherry.

This is probably not my favourite tart dough recipe though. Somehow, these shells came out a little sunken and, well, just didn’t taste as nice. Maybe a pinch of salt would help bring out the butter. Or maybe this recipe is just not suitable for the French-style tarts (the original recipe was used for a different style of tarts). Or maybe, next time I will just substitute 25g of flour with cocoa powder for my regular pâté sucrée beurrée recipe.

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