Making the Most with Cheese
Create great appetizers and desserts with dairy.
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Ingredients for the crust:
2 cups whole almonds, toasted and cooled
scant 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, process the almonds and sugar together. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until incorporated. Press the mixture into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust has turned a slightly darker shade of brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Ingredients for the filling:
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup heavy cream
about 1/4 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate
To make the filling: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Turn the mixer to low and add the cocoa powder. Mix until creamy, about one minute. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and stir just until the ingredients are blended.
Pour into the prepared crust and, using a vegetable peeler, shave the chocolate over the top of the tart. Freeze for at least two hours.
To serve, let the tart sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and then cut.
After serving, return the remaining tart to the freezer. Wrapped well, the tart will keep for up to two weeks in the freezer.
Serves 10 to 12
Wine Pairing: Tawny Port, Cream Sherry, Cabernet Sauvignon
Brie and Nectarine Turnovers
2 medium firm but ripe nectarines (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
one 17.3-oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
6 oz. Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into thin slices (or use ripe California Teleme; do not use a salty cheese)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup decorative large-granule sugar (or 2 Tbsp. regular sugar)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the nectarines and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, gently stirring once or twice.
Using a sharp knife, cut each sheet of puff pastry into four squares. Roll out each square into a 5-by-5-inch square. Put each square on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the squares with the remaining 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon of sugar.
Place a few slices of cheese in the center of each square. Pile about two tablespoons of the nectarines over the cheese on each pastry square.
Next, brush the edges of each square with a small amount of egg. Fold one corner of each square toward the opposite corner to form a triangle and press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal the turnovers and to create a decorative edge.
Brush the turnovers with the remaining egg and sprinkle with decorative sugar.
Place the turnovers on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is a rich golden color. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Wine Pairing: Muscat or late harvest Riesling
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