Peaches and Cream Cheese Tart

I first tried this Martha Stewart recipe with the originally intended fresh strawberries. The slightly salty cream cheese  base was a good foil for the sweet-tart strawberries. Strawberries though are hard to find in the Philippines,  are a little bit more intensive to clean and tricky to layout on top of the pie. (Canned) Sliced peaches are  much more reliable in terms of supply and no fuss to prep. Whatever fruit you decide on, make sure you have a design pre-planned before laying any fruit on the pie. No turning back once you lay that first fruit slice!

Martha’s recipes are quite reliable for pies and tarts, and not plagued by the heavy-handed approach to sugar that her cookies and cakes suffer from (at least for my taste). Still, I had to reduce the sugar in her recipe just a teeny bit.

Peaches and Cream Cheese Tart

adapted from:  Strawberry Tart – Martha Stewart Recipes.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

For The Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for handling dough
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For The Filling

  • 1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar (Can reduce by a tablespoon or so, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Fresh strawberries will need the sugar, but peaches a little less so)
  • Enough fresh, sliced peaches to cover top of tart or 29 oz can of sliced peaches in syrup or 1 1/2 to 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/4 cup apricot jelly or 1/4 cup seedless red currant jelly, if using strawberries

Directions

Make the crust: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt until moist crumbs form (this may take up to 1 minute). Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

With floured fingers, press dough evenly into pan and up sides. Dip a dry-measuring cup in flour, and use it to press dough firmly into bottom and against sides of pan. Freeze crust until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

(Before freezing, roll a rolling pin on top of the tart pan to flatten the top of the crust for a better look.)

Using a fork, prick crust all over. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, pressing down gently once or twice with a spoon during baking if crust puffs up. Cool completely in pan.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth; spread mixture evenly in bottom of baked crust (still in tart pan).

Starting from outside edge, arrange peach/strawberry halves, stemmed side down, in tight concentric circles on cream cheese.

In a small saucepan, heat jelly on medium-low until liquefied. Gently brush peaches/strawberries with jelly; let set at least 20 minutes. Chill in pan at least 1 hour (and up to 6 hours); remove from pan just before serving.

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