Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nectarine, Cheesecake and Gingersnap Tart

If you think that a long walk in the park isn't the solution to most problems, you are greatly mistaken. Well, I suppose it doesn't have to be in the park, but I truly believe that a nice, long walk is the key to gaining perspective. Recently, while I was on one of these contemplative walks I realized that I spent all winter dreaming of summer cooking and baking, but I have spent all summer (thus far) realizing that I have far less time to take advantage of it than I expected. Frustrated with myself, I realized that something had to change. Figuring out how to change things was a bit more of a challenge, because as it turns out, time isn't unlimited.
side view nectarine cheesecake gingersnap tart
The 'aha' moment came later when I realized that although time may be limited, when it comes to cooking it can also be maximized. In my case I realized that not all cooking has to be laborious and complicated, in fact, sometimes it's better when its not. I would compare it to working out, just because you can't have a full work out, doesn't mean you shouldn't go to the gym at all. Perspective, you see? In the midst of all this I called to mind a recipe that I had seen in the winter for Nectarine and Mascarpone tart that called for all of 8 minutes of oven time, and some mixing and slicing. So, the dedicated food blogger within me reevaluated my time and made this at 11 pm; I was in bed at 12. Now that's one way to get a good night's sleep.
gingersnap crust
Being me, I had to make a few changes to the recipe, but overall I stuck with the original. The crust is made of crushed gingersnaps, which add a slightly spicy bite and pair perfectly with the juicy and ripe summer nectarines. I only swapped out the mascarpone in this recipe with cream cheese, because there are few things I love more than cheesecake and all things cheesecake-y. In the spirit of time saving, let me keep it short, with a buzz of a blender, a spin of a mixer and the slice of a knife, dessert was ready and waiting for me in the fridge at breakfast. Yes, at breakfast.
slice nectarine cheesecake gingersnaptart
Nectarine, Cheesecake and Gingersnap Tart
(adapted from Bon Appetit, yield 1 9-inch tart)

37 crushed gingersnaps
6 tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of salt

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest

5 nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into thin slices
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind gingersnaps in processor. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Bake crust until color darkens, pressing sides with back of spoon if beginning to slide, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
2) Using a mixer, beat the ingredients for the filling together. Continue whipping until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Spread the filling into prepared crust. This can be refrigerated for up to one day.
3) Before serving, overlap nectarine slices atop the filling in concentric circles.