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French Fridays with Dorie: Tourteau de Chevre

Dessert is on the menu this week for French Fridays with Dorie. The recipe is an intruiging goat cheese cake called tourteau de chevre. It wasn’t a cheesecake, in the classic New York deli way. It wasn’t a classic cake either. Even though the eggy, creamy (though creamless) goat cheese filling was poured into an unbaked pastry crust lining a springform pan, it wasn’t really a tart either. It was completely unique.

Square Cracked Pastry

I had trouble with the sweet shortbread-like pastry crust. When I made the same pastry for the Orange-Almond Tartlets, I pressed it in the shell and it worked perfectly. For this recipe, I refrigerated it overnight and then rolled it out. The pastry wasn’t very cooperative. It kept crumbling as I rolled it. I tried patching it with wet fingers, but it kept on cracking. I ended up with a shaggy square so I used a dinner plate to make a nice circle. Then I was faced with the challenge of how to transfer the fragile sheet of dough to the pan. It didn’t make it one piece, so I had to do still more patching in the pan. Fortunately, while more difficult to work with than I remembered, the pastry was also extremely forgiving. Despite all the handling, the pastry didn’t turnout tough at all.

The filling didn’t look promising when I fired up the mixer. At first, it was sort of thick and gloppy. Within a minute though, the filling had lightened to a smooth, pale buttery yellow, custard. (I know it’s not technical custard, but it reminded me of one.) After folding the fluffy egg whites in, the filling was quite lofty.

I have one of those glass cake dome. I’m always excited when I make something that can be stored at room temperature so I can use it. It feels like there’s a professional bakery in my kitchen, for a day at least.

I served the cake plain, but I think a berry sauce would have been a welcome topping. Maybe for the next slice.

The tourteau de chevre received mixed ratings at our house. I enjoyed it. I’d never had anything like it before. All of its characteristics worked for me, and I was pleased to find that it wasn’t too sweet or heavy. Thumbs up from me! On the other hand, my husband was underwhelmed. Even though I shared Dorie’s warning that this wasn’t going to be classic cheesecake, he was expecting a denser, richer dessert.

The other FFwD bloggers made the same cake this week. You can check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.

I’m excited that I’m playing with pastry two weeks in a row. Next week’s recipe will be Spinach and Bacon Quiche!

Teacups for the Holidays

Last week I was invited to an event on Affordable Entertaining at the Whole Foods on River Street in Cambridge. There were demos by the cheese guy, tastings with the wine guy, and samples of prepared hot hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

The best part was the cheese table. Most of the display featured goat cheese, one of my favorites.

There were several goat cheese spreads, each prepared by combining a log of goat cheese with a different ingredient. One was mixed with finely chopped peppadews, another with finely chopped mixed olives, and the last with roasted tomatoes. The tomato spread was the most delicious (they were all delicious).

There were also a couple of goat cheese logs that had been rolled in chopped nuts. One was rolled in Marcona almonds; the other was coated in glazed nuts. The cheese guy said he coats the cheese with honey or maple syrup first to help the nuts stick. I’m definitely going to try this out.

The following night I was attending my first holiday party of the season. Each December, my garden club has a potluck dinner followed by a Yankee swap. If you’re not familiar with a Yankee swap, the way it works is that everyone draws a number. In order, each person opens a gift and then decides whether to keep it or to trade it for an already opened gift. At the end, the person with #1 gets to make a final selection. It’s usually hilarious.

This year, everyone brought a teacup (with saucer) to swap. Some time in the spring, we will each make tiny arrangements in our tea cups and have a mini-flower show. There was the usual stealing as we each took our turn. I was happy with the cup I ended up with. It had a sort of Art Deco design.

For dinner, everyone brings a different finger food, savory or sweet, and we graze. I decided the tomato-goat cheese spread I tried would be the perfect thing to bring. Before I left Whole Foods, I purchased some of the roasted tomatoes that are part of the array of offerings on the antipasto bar. The goat cheese I always have on hand. I was too lazy to hand chop the tomatoes, but it came together quickly in the food processor.

Tomato Goat Cheese Spread

4 oz roasted tomatoes from Whole Foods antipasto bar
8 oz goat cheese

Place the roasted tomatoes in the food processor and process until somewhere between finely chopped and pureed. Add the goat cheese and process until well combined. Transfer to a pretty bowl and serve with crackers.