Couple of days ago I was craving for something sweet, fresh and decadent. I came up with this delicious cheese tart that I named Italian cheesecake. This tart has a shortcrust pastry shell made from scratch with the highest quality butter and flour type 00. The filling is a delicate mascarpone custard. I topped this dessert with a quick and easy strawberry coulis (a fruit or vegetable puree, used as a sauce).
Fun Facts :
Mascarpone is an Italian cheese from the Lombardy region.
Mascarpone is the key ingredient for preparing Italy’s most popular dessert: Tiramisu’.
Italian shortcrust pastry is called Pasta Frolla (literally crumbly pastry).
A pastry similar to Pasta Frolla was already known in Venice after the 10th century.
Photo by Ale Gambini – A Queen In The Kitchen
Servings : 6 to 8
Difficulty : intermediate
Prep Time : 25 min. + 30 min. (dough resting time)
Cook. Time : 1h 10min.
For the pastry shell
2.5 cups flour type 00
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
For the filling
16 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp cornstarch
finely grated zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the strawberry coulis
2 cups fresh quartered hulled strawberries
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Place the flour on a large bowl, make a well then add powdered sugar and diced butter. Work with a fork until sandy.
Add the egg yolks, the lemon zest and work by hand until a smooth and pliable dough forms.
Shape the dough into a ball then wrap it with cling paper. Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven at 350F degrees.
Place the dough between to large pieces of parchment paper then, with a rolling pin, roll the dough approximately 1/8-inch thick.
Move the dough in a greased 9 inch springform pan, press the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the pan then trim the edges with a sharp knife. Poke the bottom of the dough with a fork.
Cover the pastry shell with parchment paper, place over dried legumes such as beans or chickpeas so the shortcrust pastry will not rise while baking.
Bake for 15 minutes than remove paper and dried legumes and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Prepare the filling by mixing mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, lemon zest and vanilla extract with a hand or stand mixer.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold them gently into the mascarpone mixture.
Spoon evenly the filling into the pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes (the center may be wobbly and it will set while cooling).
Allow to cool completely in its pan.
Remove the springform pan’s ring, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours before serving.
Prepare the strawberry coulis by pureeing strawberries, powdered sugar and lemon juice with a hand blender.
Serve the Italian cheesecake sliced, garnished with a dollop of strawberry coulis and fresh fruit.