The hummingbirds are back from their wintering down south, whizzing in blurs from tree to tree, searching for bird feeders filled with nectar. The tomato plants are actually producing fruit (it may make a difference that I am actually watering the plants rather than expecting them to thrive themselves). The bees are also abuzz in my backyard, wobbling over the trumpet flowers and the now sad-looking rose bush. Summer is here.
Ice cream has topped our dessert list already, even at the start of our summer season. Not that I wouldn’t want to eat it every day, but changing it up a little never hurts the menu. Seeing as I haven’t figured out how to make the cheesecake with pepper jelly and candied mint leaves from my first favorite foodie restaurant bacaro, I settled for this summery splash of flavor instead. I give you the honeyed goat cheese tart. The bees are happy they could help.
The taste was a wonderful balance of nuttiness, sweet, and tanginess. There was some “goaty” flavor on the first bite, then it reminded me of cheesecake but more smooth. Each component was well represented: the lime, the yogurt, the goat cheese, and the pistachios. The drizzle of honey brought out each flavor, too. This dessert would make a spectacular presentation on any summer table, rich like ice cream. Only a small slice is needed to enjoy all of the flavors — and to possibly push you over the edge to feeling full.
I doubted that my tart’s presentation would be even close to spectacular if my jerry-rigged tart pan didn’t work. Since I didn’t have a tart pan with a removable bottom, I turned to my baking supplies for ideas. I cut a thick, long strip of parchment (see photo above) to hang over the pan edges. I placed that in the pan first, then I lined the sides and the bottom with appropriately cut parchment pieces so every surface was covered. My plan was to lift the tart from the pan before serving. Carefully. Without breaking it.
The whole “parchment lift system” I engineered actually worked well, me demanding complete silence in the house and barely breathing while I moved the tart from pan to pretty plate. I expected the parchment tabs to be laughable substitutes for a proper removable bottom tart pan, fully expecting to take photos of a broken mess. But what luck that it worked. If you aren’t a risk-taker and want to play it safe, u
- ½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios*
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 11 ounces soft goat cheese
- 2 cups full-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- ⅓ cup clover honey (I actually used a robust, dark honey because I thought it would stand up well to the goat cheese)
- In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely ground. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar at medium speed until pale, about 1 minute. Add the ground pistachios, almond extract and salt and beat until combined. Add the flour and beat at low speed until incorporated and the dough is crumbly.
- Scrape the dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.** Using the bottom of a glass, press the dough over the bottom and up the side of the tart pan.*** Refrigerate until chilled, 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake the crust for about 45 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
- In the bowl of the mixer, beat the goat cheese, yogurt, lime juice and lime zest until combined. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Scrape the filling into the crust and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Just before serving, in a small saucepan, cook the honey over moderately high heat until it reaches 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until slightly cooled, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the honey over the tart and let stand until the honey firms up, about 5 minutes. Cut the tart into wedges and serve.**** Serves 10-12.
- Make Ahead: The tart can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight.