High Country Baking: Easy frozen white chocolate tart with berries for Fourth of July
Special to the Daily
High altitudes make cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Are you planning to spend the 4th of July in the kitchen? Of course not. It’s a time for outside activities and celebrations with family and friends. So, make this red, white, and blue tart well ahead and relax and enjoy the day. Creamy, cool, and refreshing, it’s a wonderful dessert for a summer evening and a breeze to prepare.
The crust is the only thing that sees the inside of an oven and, if you prefer, you can use a commercial one; either a graham cracker or a chocolate crumb crust will work well and both are available in most of our grocery stores. The filling comes together in about 10 minutes and requires only 4 ingredients. Be sure to use real white chocolate chips, look for ones that list cocoa butter as the main ingredient and are pale ivory, not bright white; anything less won’t work in this recipe.
Frozen White Chocolate Tart
Make in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom
Works at any elevation
2 cups of Oreo cookie crumbs (about 24 cookies)
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
OR a commercial crumb crust
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons cold heavy whipping cream, divided
6 ounces whole-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼- ½ teaspoon orange oil, optional
Fresh berries, optional
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. To make the crumbs, whirl the cookies, including the white filling, in a food processor. If you don’t have one, place them in a sealable plastic bag, seal it, and whack them with a rolling pin or pan bottom. Place 2 cups of the crumbs in a bowl, add the smaller amount of melted butter and stir/toss until all the butter is absorbed. Let the mixture rest a minute or two and then squeeze a tablespoon or so between your fingers. If the mixture holds together without crumbling and breaking apart, you’ve added enough butter. If it doesn’t, add a little more, a teaspoon at a time, until it does. Too much butter will make the crust rock hard and difficult to cut, so add it judiciously.
2. Press the mixture into your tart pan. Start with the sides, packing the crumbs evenly all the way to the top to make a rim 1/8-1/4 of an inch thick. Spread the rest of the crumbs to the same thickness in the pan bottom, leveling it as you go. You may not use all the crumbs, depending on the depth of your pan. Bake until the crust is set and aromatic, about 9-12 minutes. Cool completely.
3. Make the filling: Put a glass or metal mixing bowl in the freezer to chill: beating the whipped cream to stiff peaks is faster if done in a cold bowl. Add the white chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of cream to a microwave-safe mixing bowl, place it in a microwave oven and heat at medium temperature until the chips have melted into small lumps. Remove the bowl from the oven and stir until the chips melt completely and the mixture is shiny and smooth. Let cool to tepid. Cut the cream cheese into at least 6 pieces, add them and the vanilla and orange oil (if using), and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and light, almost fluffy. Set aside.
4. Remove the chilled bowl from the freezer, add the remaining ¾-cup of cold cream and beat with your electric mixer (no need to clean the beaters) until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the white chocolate mixture, give it a taste and add more vanilla and/or orange oil, if desired. Scrape the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top; you may not use it all. Freeze the tart, covered, for at least 6 hours and, preferably, overnight. Top with fresh berries, if desired, before serving. Slice with a thin-bladed, sharp knife dipped in hot water and dried between cuts.
Dr. Vera Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks (available at The Bookworm in Edwards or Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). She’s lived in Frisco since 1991 and has been developing and adjusting recipes so that they work at our altitude ever since. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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