Neapolitan Tarts (Chocolate crust with No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake filling)
BM# 51 -- Baking Marathon: Day 23
Bake of the Day: Neapolitan Tarts (Chocolate crust with No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake)
I can't believe we are almost at the end of April and our mega baking marathon is going to be done in 4 days. Time sure flies when we are having this much fun. If you want to know what I baked so far for the marathon, then check here.
For the final week I have some miscellaneous bakes, basically dishes that didn't really fall in any of my chosen themes for the previous weeks (breads, breakfast & cakes). First up is this Neapolitan tart -- with a chocolate crust and a no-bake strawberry cheesecake filling.
Chocolate, Vanilla & Strawberry are the classic Neapolitan flavor combination (like in the ice cream). In this recipe, they are showcased in chocolate tarts filled with vanilla flavored strawberries. Recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine.
I changed the filling a little bit. The original recipe had a baked strawberry filling which looked good, but I wasn't sure if my kids would like it (my daughter loves strawberries and would have loved it, but my picky son is not a big fan), so I decided to make a no-bake strawberry cheesecake filling flavored with vanilla and then top it with strawberries.
The tarts are baked on double stacked baking sheets (aka double panning) which ensures that the tart shells bake evenly without any burnt bottoms. The crust is like a pie crust with chocolate and is very easy to work with. The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour (or overnight), so plan to make the tarts accordingly.
All in all, these tarts are quite a show stoppers with the chocolate crust and the fresh strawberry topping. Recipe makes 4 4½" tartlets, so double or tripe the recipe to make more mini tartlets or a full size tart.
For the Crust:
For the Filling:
- To make the Dough for the Crust: Pulse flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined, about 10 times.
- Add butter and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly, about 10 more times. Add 2tbsp water and pulse until the dough comes together, about 5 times.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, shape into disks, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- To make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough disks into ⅛" thick rounds. Press the rounds into 4½" tart pans with removable bottoms and trim away the excess. (Excess dough can be rerolled and made into small cookies, if desired).
- Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork, about 8~10 times. Place them on 2 stacked baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart shells begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle 1½tsp chocolate chips into each shell. Spread the melting chips into thin chocolate layer with pastry brush. Set aside to cool.
- To make the Filling: Combine cream cheese, half-n-half (or cream) and 2tbsp sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined. If the cream cheese is at room temperature, this can be easily done with a spatula. Set aside.
- In a saucepot, add the strawberries, remaining 2tbsp sugar, vanilla bean pod and seeds and 2tbsp water. Cook over medium heat until the strawberries are quite soft. Remove the vanilla bean pod and blend the fruit using an immersion blender (or by pouring the strawberries into regular blender and then returning to the pot).
- Sprinkle the agar powder into the strawberry mixture and cook till it is completely dissolves, about 1~2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- If desired, reserve ½cup of the strawberry mixture for the top layer of the tart.
- Add the strawberry mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix well to combine.
- Divide this cheesecake mixture evenly in the cooled chocolate tarts. If adding the top layer of strawberry -- then gently pour that in on top of the cheesecake mixture. Chill for 3~4 hours for the cheesecake to set.
- Decorate with sliced strawberries and enjoy!!