Monday, October 28, 2013

Marbled Chocolate & Pumpkin Cheese Tart

Earlier this month I shared a recipe for a very old favorite—Marbled Chocolate-Sweet Potato Cake.  Today I'm posting a new recipe—Marbled Chocolate & Pumpkin Cheese Tart.  I suppose I should apologize for posting two chocolate marbled squash/sweet potato recipes in such a short interval of time.   But since they're a bit different in style from one another...not to mention that they are both desserts and both delicious... it probably isn't necessary.    As I pointed out in my other post, even though the cake makes a pretty nice dessert,  it makes an even better breakfast (or snack).  The tart on the other hand is pure dessert.  And depending on the mode of your festivities, either one would make a fine treat to serve your adult friends for Halloween...which, as it happens, is right around the corner.

Most readers after taking a quick look through the tart recipe will think that the tart filling bears a striking resemblance to a cheesecake batter.  And they will of course be right.  It is cheesecake.  I have just chosen to bake it in a large tart pan.  I've done this for a couple of reasons.  First, it gives me a wider surface area on which to display the marbling...a striking and attractive contrast of orange and deep brown. 

Secondly, it allows me to cut wider slices (which will also show the marbling off to advantage in individual servings) that aren't so large as to founder my guests.  I like cheesecake...but it is almost always served in portions that are way too large.  Most of the time it is impossible to eat a full meal and then enjoy cheesecake for dessert.  When made in a thin with this cheesecake, or as in the key lime cheesecake I posted this is easy to serve small portions that don't look miniscule.

The flavors in this cheesecake are especially nice.  If you have never tried pumpkin with chocolate, I would encourage you to do so (this tart would be a great place to start).  I love this comes up a lot in my baking.  Besides the similar pairing of sweet potato and chocolate I posted a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about  a favorite pumpkin chocolate chip bar cookie a couple of years ago.  Although, when it comes down to it, I don't think I love this combination because pumpkin (or sweet potato) is particularly good with chocolate.  Rather, I think that chocolate is enhanced by the spices that are almost always found in pumpkin dessert preparations: ...ginger...clove...cinnamon...nutmeg...etc.  If you like, you can test my theory by sampling chocolate in combination with some of these spices—without any pumpkin—in a delicious Chocolate Gingerbread that I posted several years ago.

I mentioned at the first that both of these desserts would be nice as a Halloween treat.  But they would also be a great addition to your Thanksgiving celebration.  Besides being good for breakfast, the cake would be a great way to greet hungry travelers...along with a hot cup of coffee...or tea.  Whereas the tart would make an excellent stand-in on your Thanksgiving table for pumpkin pie.  This is a particularly good idea if you think pumpkin pie is just fine...and you'll make it and eat it's traditional....   but in your heart of hearts, you would really rather be having something chocolate.

Marbled Chocolate & Pumpkin Cheese Tart

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
6 oz. chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground (2/3 of a 9 oz. package)
1 T. granulated sugar
2 oz. (4 T.) unsalted butter, melted

Butter a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan.  Combine the crust ingredients until homogenous and press onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan in a compact even layer. Place on a baking sheet and transfer to a pre-heated 350° oven.  Bake until set—10 minutes.  Cool.

1 c. heavy cream, divided
3 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 c. pumpkin purée (180 grams)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 T. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Place a third cup of the heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl or a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the chocolate and set aside for a few minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Set aside.

Combine the remaining 2/3 cup of cream with the pumpkin and vanilla; set aside.

Briefly beat cream cheese to break up.  Beat in the sugar until smooth; scrape the sides.  Combine the flour, salt & spices and beat in; scrape the sides.  Add the pumpkin mixture in three additions, beating until smooth and scraping well after each addition.  Beat in the eggs, just until smooth and fully incorporated.  Scrape down the sides.

Scoop out one cup of the batter (about 240 grams) and whisk into the melted chocolate mixture.  Scrape the remaining pumpkin batter into the cooled crust, spreading out to form an even layer.  Using a large spoon, dollop the chocolate batter evenly around the pan (eight dollops around the perimeter, plus one in the center works well).

Using the tip of a knife, swirl the batter attractively.  It works best to do this in large curves, sweeping across the entire pan and curving back the other way in a smooth repetitive motion.  It is always better to do less marbling than you think it needs...the contrast in the colors will be more striking this way.

Bake the tart in a pre-heated 325° oven until just set—about 30 to 35 minutes.  The filling will soufflé up a bit around the edges but will still be a bit jiggly in the center. 

Cool to room temperature (about 2 hours).  Chill, uncovered, until cold (at least 2 hours, but cheesecake may be baked a day ahead). 

To portion, remove the sides of the pan and cut using a sharp, thin knife dipped in hot water (and wiped dry) in between cuts.  Serves 10 to 12.


Anonymous said...

We LOVE cheesecake and this is a beauty!
Mary x

Paige said...

Thank you Mary!