breakfast, recipe, sweet

Strawberry Herb Cheese Tart

Sometimes local produce can be a bit disappointing. Like this year’s strawberry harvest in Quebec! The normally sweet and characteristically smaller berries are reason enough to wait for the season to come along, but this year’s crop seems to be pretty watered down.

But what’s great about local fruits is that even if they aren’t grade A, there are still many wonderful ways to tease out the flavour. Roasted strawberries, for example, allow the juices and sugars to concentrate and make a decadent topping for ice cream or yogurt. Baking them into cakes, tarts, or pies are also a wonderful way to improve on our farmers’ efforts and ensure this year’s crop doesn’t go to waste.

This year I made a light cheese tart- and I don’t call it a cheesecake for a reason! Firstly, it doesn’t taste like a cheesecake. And secondly, it has all the characteristics of a tart: a crumbly and buttery almond crust, a barely-sweet cheese middle, and beautiful speckles of strawberries and herbs throughout. This is the perfect dessert for someone who perhaps doesn’t tend to like desserts, but it is also wonderfully satisfying for those who do.

The herbs I used in this tart were a recent discovery for me: freeze-dried herbs. I was introduced to them by Litehouse, who sent me a care package containing their freeze-dried collection. I was instantly hooked. When you open the packages, it actually smells like fresh herbs, unlike the dried varieties. The colour is also so much more vibrant, and they are so easy to work with. The best part? They keep just as long as dried herbs. The flavours they have are also incredible- lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, and even red onion for those nights you simply don’t have the energy to chop.

I knew I had to add them to my strawberry tart. I was so pleased with the results! Their freeze dried herbs are perfect substitutions to fresh, and when it comes to convenient and ease of use, there is no battle: freeze-dried wins!

So whether your strawberries are flavourful, or they need a little coaxing, try this tart. The additional herbs, either fresh or freeze-dried, add another dimension that is a must try!

 

Strawberry Herb Cheese Tart

Ingredients

– 1/3 cup whole almonds
– 1/4 cup almond meal (or increase whole almonds to 2/3 cup)
– 2 tbsp large flake oatmeal
– 4 tbsp salted butter
– 3 tbsp sugarΒ + 6 tbsp sugar, separated
– 1 and 1/2 cup cottage cheese
– 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
– 1 large egg
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 tsp Litehouse freeze-dried basil
– 3 tsp Litehouse freeze-dried mint
– 3 tbsp all-purpose flour (or a flour alternative if you want it to be gluten free)
– 1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Add the whole almonds to a food processor and pulse to grind them up coarsely. Add the almond meal, butter, oatmeal, and 3 tbsp sugar. Process until it resembles coarse sand.
2. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch spring-form pan; it will be a thin layer. Set aside.
3. Rinse out the food processor (you’ll need it for the next steps too!).
4. Add the cottage cheese and yogurt to the food processor and mix until smooth and no lumps. Add in the egg, vanilla, basil, and mint and mix. Add the 6 tbsp sugar and sprinkle the flour on top. Pulse another 3-4 times until well combined. Add in the chopped strawberries, pulsing only a couple times to mix and get some of the strawberry juice into the batter but not enough to puree the fruit pieces.
5. Pour the batter over the prepared crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until just slightly golden brown around the edges and set in the middle.
6. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Can be served room temperature or cold.

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Disclaimer: Litehouse sent me their products to try and test. All words, recipes, and opinions are entirely my own.