Aug 7

Celebrating Julie & Julia with a Tarte au Fromage Frais

in Uncategorized

Today is the day of the much anticipated release of the movie Julie & Julia. For this week’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking challenge, I decided that I needed to celebrate the big day with some kind of dessert, and while flipping through the dessert section of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a recipe for Tarte au Fromage Frais (Cream Cheese Tart–hot or cold, p.647) caught my eye.
The recipe calls for an eight-inch Pâte Brisée Sucrée (Sweet Short Paste, p.633) pastry shell. The book explains that “[a] French tart . . . is straight sided and . . . is molded in a bottomless metal flan ring that has been set on a baking sheet. When the tart is done, the ring is removed and the tart is slid from the baking sheet to a rack or the serving dish.” If you don’t have one of these rings, the option to use a “false-bottomed, straight-sided, cake pan 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep” is suggested. I have neither a metal flan ring, nor a false-bottomed, straight-sided, cake pan. I do have a false-bottomed scalloped-edge tart pan, but I really wanted to attempt a straight edge, feeling that it would be “inappropriate” to have the “inauthentic” scalloped edge on a tart that was celebrating the story of Julia Child. So I improvised and used an eight-inch spring-form pan.
While the edges of a spring-form pan are indeed straight-sided, the depth is much deeper than 1 to 1 1/2 inches. This made it difficult to get the pastry into the pan, mold it evenly, and get it to look pretty.
Julia writes, “French dessert tarts, like French entrée tarts and quiches, are open faced and stand supported only by their pastry shells. They should be beautiful to look at . . . .” Although my tart was straight-sided and open faced, it’s beauty was more of a rustic beauty because it was imperfect. Sorry Julia!
The filling is a simple cream cheese, butter, sugar, and egg mixture, given a bit of extra flavor by a pinch of nutmeg.
Everything is creamed together, poured into the partially baked pastry shell, and then baked in the oven for about half an hour. The tart comes out of the oven a bit puffy and sinks slightly as it cools.
Growing up I always asked my mom to make me cheesecake on my birthday, instead of a traditional birthday cake. This tart is reminiscent of those cheesecakes, but not as heavy.
It is silky and creamy with just a hint of the nutmeg coming through. I stepped outside of the Julia box slightly and drizzled a raspberry sauce (raspberries puréed with granulated sugar with the seeds strained out) over the top. I liked the bit of red on the plate (red is my favorite color), and the added raspberry flavor complimented the cream cheese filling.
The tart, although imperfect in appearance, was delicious. Although the crust prep was a bit more intensive, the actual tart prep was quick and easy. If you did the crust ahead of time, this tart would be a breeze to whip up and have on the table as a special dessert for family or guests. Now that we celebrated with a bit of dessert, go and see the movie!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Frieda August 7, 2009 at 10:23 am

Your tart is really pretty, and rustic is a winner in my book! Thanks for the great 'appetizer' to seeing the movie~


Darina August 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

I love rustic. It has its own charm that beats the perfect, store-bought-looking pies and tarts any day. The tart looks absolutely delcious and I love the drizzle of raspberry coulis. I bet it gives it a nice contrast with refreshing flavour.


Jenn August 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Lovely. Great choice to celebrate the opening of the movie. I feel like I should make this and sneak in a slice or two while I watch the movie. hehe…


My Inner French Girl August 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Like you, I always asked my mom to make her specialty, cheesecake, for all my birthdays when I was growing up. She makes the best.

Gosh, yours looks and sounds simply divine. Thanks for sharing the photos! I don't know if I'll have enough time to make it myself, but I can enjoy yours vicariously. Or, you can tell me your address, and if you're within 500 miles of the Dallas area, I can be there within ten hours. Save me a slice, s'il vous plait!



[email protected] August 7, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I love the picture of your tart; I think it's very pretty! This tart reminds me of a cream cheese tart my mom used to make… I need to see the movie (and make and eat this tart!)… :)


Annie Pazoo August 7, 2009 at 7:35 pm

oh, YUM! And it even looks French :-)


Cucinista August 8, 2009 at 3:27 am

Wonderful tart and great pictures. I love cheese and I love cake so two in one…


Emily August 9, 2009 at 12:31 am

Yum, just, yum.


Amanda August 9, 2009 at 6:26 pm

I'll have to try this, it looks wonderful!


Helene August 10, 2009 at 12:17 am

Another recipe that I really have to make from the book. Delicious picture.


kawaii crafter August 10, 2009 at 10:10 am

Your tart looks delicious, although pretty much everything you post looks appetizing. I always find myself getting hungry when I visit here ;)

Have you seen the movie yet? Did you like it?


veron August 10, 2009 at 10:27 am

Oh Yum! I love tarts. You did a great job with this!


Nutmeg Nanny August 11, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Your tart look delicious! It's rustic and beautiful all at the same time.


Abigail (aka Mamatouille) August 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Red is my favorite color, too, LFM! Beautiful tart and vibrant red raspberry sauce. Yum!


Hillary September 11, 2009 at 11:59 am

Great tribute to Julie and Julia! I plan on making the Beouf Bourguignon one of these days :)


Jamie September 13, 2009 at 7:11 am

Scrumptious! I've been dreaming of a tart like this. I think it is perfect, especially with the fruit sauce.


Sarah April 9, 2010 at 10:40 am

My sister made this and put nuts in it. She concluded that it looked like a quiche with sausage in it. :) We are not planning to make it again….


Borbs April 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

When I made the tarte au fromage frais I did a bit of an experiment. I had some lemon cream filling left over (from the cake section of the same book) so I put that in the bottom of the shell first. Because of the amount of sugar in the lemon cream I halved the amount of sugar in the cheese. It was a pretty delicious variation!


does saffron extract work August 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm

We are a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have
done an impressive activity and our entire neighborhood might be grateful to you.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: