Heart Beets

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All week I’ve been dreaming up a perfectly pink (non artificially colored) dessert for Valentine’s Day. Normally I would do something in the vein of decorated heart-shaped cookies or cutesy cupcakes but I wanted to do something different and more challenging. I was inspired by a beet tart that we did at Scratch recently —(chocolate crust with a filling made of beats poached in vanilla bean and cream). It was absolutely a lovely sight but I wanted to do something else to make it my own. I also didn’t want too much of a pronounced beet flavor, all the while, still getting that gorgeous fuchsia color. Believe it or not, this was my first time working with beets and I was a little apprehensive about incorporating them into a dessert (even though it’s certainly been done before and Joy the Baker has a delicious looking recipe for a chocolate beet cake that she swears by and well, I trust Joy the Baker). I feared the earthy flavor of the beets would be overpowering or slightly off-putting in a dessert. Well, much to my elation and surprise, I found that they weren’t. When mixed with cream cheese, goat cheese (which is brilliant in a cheesecake), and sour cream, they yielded just the right balance of beet (just enough so you know it’s there), giving the cheesecake a rich purply-pink hue and contrasting beautifully with the chocolate crust.

This recipe is definitely a keeper and one I’m proud of and the perfect treat to enjoy on Valentine’s Day. So it just goes to show you never know if you don’t try. Now I’m eager to get my hands on other beet recipes, like these ravioli  with poppy seed butter which looks like an exact replica of a dish I had at Al Di La in NYC awhile back, which was phenomenal. I also want to try this DIY cheek stain! How cool is that?! No more spending $30 at the Benefit counter! I had to make a red velvet cake tonight for an event and I used some of the beet water that I saved from boiling the beets for the cheesecake for the coloring and it was perfect! I doubt I’ll use artificial food coloring again.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Beet and Goat Cheese Cheesecake Tarts with Chocolate Crust

*This recipe can either make three 4-inch tarts, two 8-inch tarts and one 9 or 10-inch tart; two 9/10-inch tarts (you may have enough dough and filling leftover to make one or two minis); OR one 9-inch springform cheesecake.

Chocolate Tart Dough by Martha Stewart

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Place flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolks, cream, and vanilla; process until mixture comes together.
  • Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and flatten into a disk. Wrap well; refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use, up to 2 days.
  • Crumble bits of dough into the tart pans (make sure you use ones with removable bottoms), using your fingers to flatten the dough and push it up along the sides, making sure it’s even. Pierce with a fork. Pre-bake at 325 for about 10-12 minutes.

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (at room temp)
  • 4 oz. goat cheese (at room temp)
  • 8 oz. sour cream (at room temp)
  • *1/2 cup of cooked  puréed (about 1/2 lb.),puréed with 1 TBS heavy cream
  • 2 eggs (at room temp)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  • Whip the cream cheese, goat cheese and sour cream in a mixer (on medium) until well blended (about three minutes). Add the sugar. Then add the eggs (one at a time), scraping with a spatula after each addition. Add the vanilla and then the beet purée, mixing just a minute or two more. Make sure everything is smooth and incorporated. If you’d like a more muted color, just add 1/4 or 1/8 cup of beet purée.
  • Pour into tart pan (s), allowing some of the crust to still show (make sure you don’t fill it to the brink of overflowing).
  • Bake at 300 for about 20 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

*To make the beet purée, peel the beets and cook in boiling water until tender. Blend in a food processor with 1 TBS of heavy cream until smooth and well-blended.

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