Last week in Besançon, particularly toward the end of the week, we had some really nice weather. There was no rain, we have begun to see the sun for the first time in (literally) months, and the days are getting longer. So I was really excited at the prospect of having a lovely sunny weekend, and then this:
Not a ray of sunlight to be seen. So much for my grand plan to run this weekend...I mean, I guess I could still go running, but with this weather, I would rather stay inside and make something delicious... and the Alsatian classic, tarte au fromage blanc, is just the thing. First, an explanation for those of you who aren't familiar with fromage blanc (or fromage frais - honestly I have no idea what the difference is). It's kind of like a mix between sour cream and plain yogurt. Less tart than sour cream and not as thick, but not quite plain yogurt. I think a good substitution would be Greek yogurt. And it come in big tubs, like this one that has a whole kilo of the stuff:
This tarte is very similar to a cheesecake, but lighter. You can flavor it with whatever you like: vanilla, orange, lemon, or kirsch which would be quite nice with some cherry preserves along side. The first step is to make a sweetened pâte brisée, let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour, roll it out, then blind bake it (that's all the first step, ok?). Then the filling comes together really quickly. Separate 4 eggs, whisk the whites to stiff peaks.
Whip the yolks with 150 grams of sugar until fluffy. Add 40 grams of cornstarch, then 10 cL of liquid crème fraîche (or just regular cream if you can't find crème fraîche or you're too lazy to make your own), along with a splash of Cointreau and the zest of an orange.
Fold in the egg whites.
And bake at 175 C for 35-40 minutes. I then like to do what I do for cheesecakes to prevent the top from cracking: when it's done, turn off the oven and let the tarte sit until the oven is cooled down. This allows the filling to cool very gradually, preventing cracks on the top. Then remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. The refrigerate, or serve at room temperature, which would be nice.