I am so in need of baking something right now. I’m frustrated beyond words, and for me, baking is the ultimate stress reliever. Well, that and the daily 6.5 mile walks I’ve been taking.
My father will probably break my legs (more like throw out my running shoes) for admitting this, but last week I logged 27.5 miles. Truth. I actually broke out the calculator and added it all up. First I tried doing it in my head but we all know how THAT goes….
I really enjoy those walks, though – I can get so much organized in my head – and come home clear headed and ready for the day. I had every intention of going for a walk this morning, but since I tossed and turned thinking from 1:00 am until 4:00 am, there was no way I was getting up at 5:30 to be out the door at 6.
So right now I’m debating between baking this bread or this cake.
And wishing I had a piece of this torte.
Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte – adapted from Dorie Greenspan
For the Crust:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 sticks (12 tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1/3 cup thick berry jam
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)
Butter a 9-inch springform pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
To Make the Crust:
Put the flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse just to blend. Toss in the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir the egg yolks and vanilla together with a fork, and, still pulsing the machine, add them and continue to pulse until the dough comes together in clumps and curds – restrain yourself, and don’t allow the dough to form a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. If you want to roll the dough, gather it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes before rolling. Or simply press the dough into the pan. The dough should come about 1-1/2 inches up the sides of the spring form. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Fit a piece of buttered aluminum foil against the crust, covering it completely. Fill the crust lightly with rice, dried beans or pie weights and slide the sheet into the oven. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or so – you don’t want the crust to get too brown. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the filling.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
To Make the Filling:
Stir the jam, and spread it over the bottom of the crust – it’s okay to do this while the crust is still warm.
Put the cream cheese into the food processor and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times, for 2 minutes, until you’ve got a smooth, satiny mix. Add the sugar and spices and process for another 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the eggs and process, scraping the bowl as needed, for a final minute. Pour the filling over the jam.
Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the filling is uniformly puffed and no longer jiggly. Gently transfer the springform pan to a cooling rack and allow the torte to cool to room temperature, during which time the filling will collapse into a thin, elegant layer.
Run a blunt knife between the crust and the sides of the pan, then open and remove the sides of the springform. If the sides of the crust extend above the filling and you don’t like this look, very gently saw off the excess crust using a serrated knife. Chill the torte slightly or thoroughly before serving and, if you’d like, dust the top with confectioner’s sugar.