As light as feather – Typical Alsacian fromage blanc tart arrived in San Francisco
Aussi légère qu’une plume – La Tarte au fromage blanc Alsacienne est arrivée a San Francisco
This is something I had no idea how it would turn out. I love so much this traditional Eastern French dessert, so popular in Alsace and Lorraine regions. When I go home, it’s the first thing I buy at the boulangerie (bakery store). It’s my treat and possibly one of my favorite desserts. I don’t have particularly a sweet tooth but all my teeth are sweet for this one. It’s not too sweet, very light and fluffy that has nothing to do with the US cheesecake. The problem is that fromage blanc is impossible to find in the US. You can find some so-called fromage blanc but it’s domestic.
I have tried the domestic dairy products they reproduce and they’re different from what you can find in Europe, so for specific dishes I stick to imported ones when available. Fromage blanc means literally “white cheese” and its fabrication is similar to the cheese one but it’s not fermented. It’s thicker than yogurt and thinner than cream cheese and a lot lighter. I was desperately thinking what could I substitute to fromage blanc and was not going to use cream cheese, cream cheese is way too heavy and I didn’t want the consistency of cheesecake, but wanted to find that little fluffiness of the fromage blanc tart.
The great thing about san Francisco is that you can find many imported products. For this tart, I used some imported Greek Yogurt “Page” brand, you can buy at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sigona or other specialty stores. The consistency is similar to fromage blanc, but being called yogurt I was worried it would not raise and remained liquid. I had no idea if this would turn out fine. Honestly, it resulted in an absolutely delicious and fluffy tart like the one you can find in Eastern France, so delicious, for those of you who like cheesecake, you have to try this one. It is so lighter and so addictive.
You need a deep dish to bake it, it raises a lot, you can see when it comes out of the oven it’s very thick, but will eventually go down then you need to place it backwards on a dish when cooling down. The top will be cracked with a beautiful brown color, which means your tart is perfect.
Ingredients for 8
For the crust (it’s a pâte sablée)
- 125 g white flour
- 125 g whole wheat flour
- 110 g butter
- 70 g sugar
- 1 egg
- some water about 10 cl
For the filling
- 1 kg – 2 lbs Greek yogurt (either regular or 2%fat, the non-fat makes a tart that is too acid)
- 4 eggs
- 10 cl heavy cream
- 120 g sugar
- 3 tbs cornstarch
- lemon zest
- vanilla extract (optional)
Start preparing the crust. In a mixing bowl or flat surface mix flour with butter using your hands to make it a sand-like mixture, it will be a grainy. In another bowl mix eggs, sugar and water, then add to the flour/butter mixture. Mix well to turn it into a dough. Refrigerate for 30 min before use.
In another container, mix sugar and yolks until it the mixture whitens, add yogurt and cream, beat well with a mixer. Add cornstarch and lemon zest. Beat the whites and add to the mixture.
In a deep dish (about 5 inches height) place dough and fill the dish with the yogurt mixture. Cook in a preheated oven at 350-560F for about one hour. Make sure to cook it slowly, the top will get brown quickly. When cooked, remove from the oven and place upside down to cool down, so that the tart will be nice and thick all over.
You can serve this with a coulis of raspberry or fresh strawberries or whatever fruit you feel like having. It’s a light and wonderful dessert.
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