Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clean Eating Cheesecake Tartlets

Last Friday evening we were invited to some new friends' house for dinner and a little swimming for the kids in their lake. I asked if I could please bring something so they agreed and asked if I would bring dessert. Of course I happily obliged. But I always have mixed feelings about bringing dessert. Here is the dilemma that plays in my mind. I love to bake and cook. On the one hand I make cakes for fun that people actually pay me for, but on the other I don't really eat those scrumptious desserts that I used to make anymore and so I am somewhat out of practice. Really I should be offering to bring salad. Most of my close friends just rely on me now to bring the salad or something else healthy like fruit. I am the boring one now.

So here is how I solved the problem. I made one fairly healthy and small dessert and I made cupcakes that weren't so healthy but tasted divine. Unfortunately for you I didn't take a picture of the cupcakes, but they were pineapple with a mango Swiss meringue butter cream. Very yummy and summery!

But came to the rescue for my other less sugary treat!

The recipe calls for 4oz. cream cheese and 4 oz. goat cheese but for some reason I just do not love goat cheese! Maybe I need to be made aware of the best brand or something but it just hasn't been my thing. So instead of just 4oz of cream cheese I used 8 oz. of reduced fat and skipped the goat cheese.

Mix the cream cheese with honey and vanilla. I got this honey at the farmer's market a couple Saturdays ago and it is Delicious with a capital D! I am going back for his buckwheat honey this Saturday. Also you can get this big container of pure vanilla for like $5.99 at Sam's Club. Heck of a deal!

I put the cream cheese mixture in one of my piping bags fitted with tip number 16 or 21
 I think and then put it back in the fridge to get firm enough to actually pipe. If you don't have a bag just use a Ziploc baggie and snip the end of one corner off when you are ready to pipe. Be careful not to cut too much.

Then I got to work on the lemon shortbread tartlet part of this recipe. Doesn't that just sound yummy! I have a thing for shortbread. The recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour which can be a bit tricky to find. If you are local Cub is the only store that has it and it is in the health food section. If you must substitute something use white whole wheat flour. You can't use just plain whole wheat flour. It will just be too dense.

Into the bowl went the flour, 2/3 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup raw honey, and 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest. I love that it is just 4 ingredients!

Mix those ingredients together with a fork until your mixture holds together nicely. You will want to start with room temperature butter to make this easier. If it is too sticky you might need to add a bit more flour......

because you will have to roll the dough into balls. I got 30 of them but the recipe says that it yields 36. I will make them slightly smaller next time.

I put a little flour on the plate and decide that my teaspoon would be the perfect thing to use to press the balls into the pan.

I did spray my pan with cooking spray for good measure first then pressed each ball firmly into the mini muffin tin. Don't be afraid to really press it in there and thin it out. The recipe said the dough should be quite thin so I really tried to be firm but they ended up being a little thick still. That is why I need to make 36 balls instead of 30.

Fill each tartlet with a 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar free jam or preserves. I picked raspberry this time because I thought it would go well with the lemon flavor in the shortbread and the little blueberries I planned to put on top.

I picked Polaner because it is all fruit plus a little fiber and is sweetened with Splenda. Splenda is not my favorite sweetener because it isn't all natural but to me it is better than the 30 million grams of sugar that is in real jam!!!! I can't even make jam because it pains me so much to add 4 cups of sugar to my 4-6 cups of berries. That is a ton of sugar!!!! But choose whatever you like since it is such a small amount of jam anyway.

Bake the tartlets for 15 minutes in the oven until they are just turning golden brown.

Then let them cool completely. That jam will be really hot!

Then take your piping bag out of the fridge and pipe a nice little swirl into each tartlet and top with a few blueberries. I do have to say that I completely ran out of filling at 28 tartlets so I think that had I actually gotten 36 of them I may have been in a bit of trouble. Although they would have been a wee bit smaller too.

Everyone loved these little treats and they were pretty fun to eat! The cupcakes were probably every one's favorite thing of the night but at least I knew at least one thing I served was fairly cleaned up. I think I will do a bit more experimenting with different flavors of jam and maybe some almond extract next time. Cherries and almond would be a good combination. I must tell you too that these were very simple to make and took me no time at all which was an excellent trick since our hosts thought they were a super fancy dessert I slaved over! That is my kind of trick!

Chocolate. Something chocolate would be good in these.
Random. I know.

If you make these let me know how you like them and what combination of flavors you choose to use!

Cheesecake Tartlets
Clean Eating Recipe (click here for the original recipe without my changes)

6 tbsp all-natural, no-sugar-added fruit preserves of your choice
36 fresh berries (raspberries, large blueberries or strawberries), quartered

8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp raw honey 
½  tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (can use white whole wheat flour also)
2/3 cup organic unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup raw honey
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest 

Prepare Cheesecake Filling: In a food processor, blend cream cheese, honey and vanilla, stopping to scrape sides of bowl, until smooth. Spoon mixture into a piping bag. (or use Ziploc bag with corner snipped off) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up enough to pipe.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare Lemon Shortbread: In a large bowl, add flour, butter, honey and zest; mix with a fork until well blended and a dough is formed. 

Form into 36 tablespoon-size balls. Place balls in cups of a nonstick mini muffin or mini tartlet pan. Use the back of a spoon or your thumb to press each ball onto bottom and partway up side of each cup (dough should be quite thin) to make an indentation to hold preserves.

Spoon 1/2 tsp fruit preserves into each cup.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and firm. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove tartlets from pan and let cool completely on rack, about 20 minutes.

Pipe about 1 tsp Cheesecake Filling onto each tartlet, then top with berries of choice. Refrigerate until 10-15 minutes before serving.


Jenn said...

Instead of jam what do you think it would taste like to use raspberry/blackberry puree with little stevia? I love goat cheese but the only brand I like is the Kirkland (Costco).

Pam Rohde said...

I am sure it would taste great but I am worried that it would be too liquidy. You do need it to set up. You could try just plain berries in there. I think I will have to try your tea suggestion!

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