When I saw Zorra's "A heart for your Valentine" event - I just had to participate! After all, I did already profess my love for Valentine's Day (and all other holidays, for that matter :).
This event calls for sweet or savory recipes that are either heart-shaped or heart-decorated. I don't have a heart tart pan, so I went the heart-decorated route. The result is a Bittersweet Chocolate & Berry Cheesecake Tartlet - What do you think?
And...get this - its not that fattening! I love to make cheesecake and frequently make all different versions, but have never tried the low-fat cream cheese. I had saved this recipe awhile back and decided to give it a whirl for the filling - but change up the crust and toppings just a bit. I much prefer to make smaller, individual desserts, rather than large cakes or tarts because it is just Tim and myself in the house and we never finish the larger desserts. Plus, individuals look so cute and are perfect for a romantic Valentine's Day Dinner!
Bittersweet Chocolate & Berry Cheesecake Tartlets
(adapted from Everyday Food)
Note: I made 3 tartlets, but had enough batter to make about 3 or 4 more - the original recipe calls for a regular 9-inch tart pan. You could also use a mini-cheesecake pan - I would just make the original amount of batter (or half it) the first time to get a better handle on how much you need for whatever pan you would like to use. Then just watch the oven - the baking time will need to be adjusted.
~ 1 cup chocolate cookies
1/3 cup almonds
3/4 cups sugar, separated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 bars (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese @ room temperature
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Berries (for decorating tart tops - I used a combination of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)
Confectioner's sugar (for dusting)
Bittersweet chocolate, melted (a few ounces should be fine - but that depends on how many tarts you make and how decorative you would like them to be!)
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, grind cookies, almonds, and 1/4 cup sugar until finely ground; add butter, and process until moistened. If you find that your crumbs are too wet or too dry, add either more chocolate cookies/wafers or more butter. Transfer to removable-bottom tart pan(s). Using the base of a dry measuring cup (and your fingers!), press mixture firmly into the bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze at least 15 minutes.
For the filling: Clean food processor. Place cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt in food processor; blend until smooth. Place tart pan(s) on a rimmed baking sheet; fill with cheesecake mixture. Bake until filling is just set, approximately 23 minutes for my little tarts (the original recipe recommends ~30 to 35 minutes for larger tarts). Transfer tart pan(s) to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, refrigerate until cold.
For the decorations! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fill a piping bag with melted chocolate. The piping bag should have a very small round tip attached so you can write/draw words, shapes or in this case, HEARTS! Pipe out hearts - I did heart outlines and filled hearts - on the parchment. I cooled mine in the freezer so they would harden quickly.
Use berries (I patted mine dry first with paper towels to remove excess juice [I had to use frozen berries because they are out of season here]) to make two concentric circles around the edge of the tarts. Once the chocolate hearts are hard, use them to decorate the center of the tart - I pushed mine into the cheesecake and left a few around the outside of the plate. Dust the top of the tart with confectioner's sugar and EAT!
The full round-up of entries can be found here!