Aug 09

Mascarpone cheesecake tart with fresh nectarines

Mascarpone cheesecake tart with fresh nectarines!

Doesn’t it seem like nectarines kind of get short shrift compared to other summer fruits?

You always hear about tasty dishes incorporating peaches and cherries and various types of berries.

Not so much with nectarines, though.

So I’ve been on kind of a nectarine kick lately, to make up for years of inattention. My latest feat: This cheesecake tart piled high with sweet, juicy nectarines!

I brought this sucker to work, like I do with most of the desserts I make (so, you know, I don’t go eating the whole thing by myself) and sent out an e-mail to my department letting them know it was up for grabs. Usually, these e-mails prompt just a trickle of treat-seekers over the next hour or so.

This time, that cheesecake tart was gone in less than 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s an office record.

What’s more, several hungry stragglers approached throughout the afternoon, looking for the ballyhooed nectarine cheesecake and finding only a cake carrier littered with crumbs. And you know how delicious this cake was? So delicious that my co-workers EVEN ATE THE CRUMBS.

And I got a compliment from a co-worker … in Spanish! Here’s our conversation via IM:

Co-worker: “Ese pastel es las rodillas de las abejas.”
Me (blindly guessing what he was saying): “This cake is … the nectar of the gods?”
Co-worker: “Turn it down a notch there, champ.”

After some furious Googling, I figured out that he had said, “This cake is the knees of the bees.” Which was a joke, stemming from my habit of literally translating English idioms into Spanish, rendering them nonsensical.

But it really is the bee’s knees! Not only because it’s tasty but also because it’s pretty simple to make. I actually made the crust one night after work, the filling the next night after work, and the topping the next day on my lunch break, right before I brought it into the office. Since the crust has to bake and cool, and the filling has to bake and chill for several hours, the multi-day construction totally worked out.

Oh, and if you can’t find mascarpone, don’t worry; you can use cream cheese instead. The texture will be a little different — a little denser — but I think you’ll still agree that it’s the knees of the bees.

Cinnamon graham crackers!I bought this almond biscotti at Trader Joe's because I couldn't find any amaretti. Side note: This biscotti is really tasty!Cinnamon-graham-cracker-almond-biscotti crust!
Here's the cheesecake filling, ready to get baked.Can you see the lemon zest in the cheesecake? Yum!The crust was a little crumbly, but it managed to hold in the filling.
A bowl full of ripe nectarines!I sliced the nectarines pretty thinly.Sliced nectarines, after macerating a bit.

Recipe: Mascarpone cheesecake tart with fresh nectarines

Adapted from Epicurious.com

For crust

  • Six 5- by 2½-inch graham crackers
  • 1¼ cups coarsely crushed amaretti, Trader Joe’s mini almond biscotti, or some other almond-y cookie
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling

  • 1½ cups mascarpone cheese (about 3/4 pound) at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For topping

  • 2 pounds nectarines (about 8 small or 4 large)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. To make the crust, put the graham crackers, almond cookies and sugar in a food processor and grind into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and grind some more, until well combined. Press the crumb mixture into the pan, covering the bottom and going up about 3/4 inch on the side. Then bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, and let cool completely on a rack. Don’t take the crust out of the pan yet!
  3. For the filling, put the marscapone (or cream cheese) and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time, beating the mixture well after each one, and then mix in the lemon juice, zest and extracts. Mix in the flour and salt until combined well.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust and bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes, or until set. Let the tart cool completely in the pan on a rack. Once it’s cool, remove the side of the springform pan and put the tart onto a plate. Cover the tart and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24.
  5. Just before serving, slice the nectarines and put them into a bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and toss to coat. Let the nectarines sit and macerate, tossing occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Pile the nectarines on the tart and serve immediately.

Mascarpone cheesecake tart with fresh nectarines!

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1 comment

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  1. Sarah

    As one of the aforementioned munchers, I can vouch that this tart is simply scrumptious!

    Imagine, if you will, creamy cheesecake topped high with ripe, juicy nectarine slices. Now picture your fork sinking into a buttery, crumbly almond-flavored crust.

    You lift the fork to your mouth. It’s ecstasy! For the next several minutes, you ponder whether it’d be appropriate to sneak back to Chrissy’s desk for another slice.

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