Honey Cheese Tart with Candied Orange Peel Recipe

Tarte au Fromage Frais, Miel et Ecorces d'Orange Confites

[Honey Cheese Tart with Candied Orange Peel]

This golden tart rounds out the selection of desserts I served at my birthday party. The birthday cake itself had to be chocolate of course, and I wanted to bake a second dessert that would complement it in terms of taste, shape, color and texture.

I felt that a cheesecake of sorts would be just the thing, and I was inspired by a recipe I found in one of my grandmother’s magazines : the recipe was for a fresh cheese tart with raisins, and it sounded wonderfully straightforward, so I jotted down the basic instructions.

Over the next couple of weeks the recipe took on a life of its own in my head, shedding the raisins for candied orange rind (which I adore and have large supplies of, in part because of an accidental double purchase at G.Detou), replacing half the sugar with honey (to lend more depth to the taste), and using homemade pie dough in place of store-bought (a non-negotiable term for desserts in my humble opinion, unless terribly pressed for time and/or energy).

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

The result was a surprising and complex mix of flavors, which worked beautifully together. The texture was also very pleasant, as the filling and dough sort of blended into one another, forming a gradual progression from crumbly shell to moist, fresh cheese, and the chewy little bolts of orange taste. I received many a compliment about it, and a lot of my friends came to me with an intrigued look on their face, asking what was in it that made it so interesting and tasty.

And this tart also found, as I had hoped, its rightful place in the dessert bonanza, between the lighter rhubarb compote and the richer chocolate cake, alongside Marie-Laure and Ludo’s fruit salad and Sabrina’s mini carrot cakes.

Tarte au Fromage Frais, Miel et Ecorces d’Orange Confites

Filling :
– 250 g fresh cheese (I used ricotta)
– 3 eggs
– 60 g sugar
– 60 g honey (I used “Miel du Maquis” from Corsica)
– 60 g candied orange rind

Pie dough :
– 150 g flour
– 75 g sugar
– 75 g butter
– a dash of milk

Serves 8.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), and grease a 25-cm (10-inch) springform cake pan.

Make the dough : in a food processor, mix the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in the flour until the dough forms coarse crumbs. Add in a dash of milk, and mix again. Pour this mixture evenly into your tart pan, and press the dough down to pack it and cover the surface the pan, forming a little rim all around. Prick all over with a fork, and put into the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden.

While the tart shell bakes, prepare the filling. Cut the orange rind in small dice and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the fresh cheese and the eggs. Add in the sugar and honey, and whisk again until thoroughly combined.

Take the tart shell out of the oven. Sprinkle the orange rind evenly over the bottom, and slowly pour in the fresh cheese mixture, so as not to disturb the bits of orange rind too much. Return into the oven, and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set and the top is golden.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, run a knife all around to loosen the tart, and remove the sides of the springform pan. Cut in slices and serve cold or at room temperature.

  • Maman

    Que voilà un gâteau original et appétissant ! J’ai déjà fait quelque chose d’approchant avec des oranges fraiches en hiver, mais jamais avec des écorces d’orange. C’est une super bonne idée !

  • Hi Clotilde, did you use Ricotta yourself or fromage blanc? I am a big fan of “tarte au fromage blanc” and if ricotta cheese is a good substitute for fromage blanc, I think I will do a lot of it!

  • Wow, wow, wow. This is the first item described in your lovely blog that I feel I must rush home to make. Many other items you’ve described sound fantastic and worth preparing, but perhaps today I’m just in the mood for cheese and sugar more so than usual. *grin*

  • charlotte

    What a great idea, Clotilde!
    This would be Perfect for my mother’s birthday in November. She loves orange zest and candied orange peel…I’m known (well, at least with my family and friends) for my cheesecakes, and my stepdad makes honey with his own bees! Thank you so much, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • Hi Clotilde,
    That’s a beautiful tart and what a superb combination… if ricotta worked fine with you, I am really encouraged because I don’t get to find French fromage frais in my neighborhood, but ricotta is two for a cent!

  • Clotilde, are your ears burning? The gang over at eGullet.com has some wonderful things to say about you and C&Z! I’m not sure whether or not this link will work, but I’ll try anyway: http://forums.egullet.com/index.php?showtopic=49288&hl=. Come visit.

  • What could I use instead of candied orange zest? I’m not sure I can get hold of it where I live. How about fresh lemon zest – would that work, do you think?
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • serena

    clotilde, i cannot wait to get back to london where my baking equipment (& hopefully an oven too) is waiting for me, to make this! cheese, honey, & candied orange peel – 3 of my favourite things. i’ve incorporated candied orange peel into baked cheesecakes before, but this sounds different & intriguing. in fact, i also love raisins, so the original recipe sounds good as well.

  • Maman – Yes, I remember about your delicious fresh orange tart! I’ll have to get that recipe from you…

    Estelle – I used ricotta, but it is a substitute of “fromage frais”, not “fromage blanc”. For “gâteau au fromage blanc”, which is moussier and lighter that this tart or a cheesecake I guess the best substitute would be yogurt?

    Charlotte – Well, I’ll certainly be honored if this is your mom’s birthday treat!

    Molly – Thanks for the heads up! My ears weren’t burning, but my face was certainly glowing after reading these comments!

    Anja – Fresh orange zest would be a great way to give an orange flavor to the tart, but candied orange peel are chewy little bits, and maybe you could substitute some other dried fruit, like blond raisins, or finely-diced dried apricots…

    Miss Tenacity, Chika and Serana – Do let me know how it turns out if you make it!

  • Jane

    Made this yesterday, couldn’t wait! Did not have enough ricotta so made up the difference with cream cheese and strained yoghourt. Used sultanas and dried cranberries, a little bit of lemon juice and the grated rind of one lemon. Couldn’t keep my husband away from it and we are already half way through this creation meant for eight. I did find that I only had to cook the pastry for about 10 minutes and needed to turn the oven down to 375 for the final bake with the filling.

  • Jane – Thanks for reporting back, I’m delighted it turned out so well!

  • Mon premier essai de recette “C&Z”, à l’occasion des anniversaires conjugués de ma maman et de ma soeur.

    C’était délicieux ! Mais j’ai deux petites questions.

    Combien est-ce que tu mets de lait dans la pâte ?

    Est-ce que la ricotta que tu as utilisée était très humide ? Est-ce que tu l’as égouttée ?

    Au vu de ta photo, il me semble que ta tarte était plus épaisse que la mienne (la croûte était aussi épaisse que le filling).Est-ce une impression due à la photo ?

    Merci pour toutes tes succulentes recettes !

  • Jenny – Je suis ravie que tu aies aimé cette recette! La quantité de lait dans la pâte est juste un petit “splash” pour l’humidifier un tout petit peu: tu tiens la brique de lait, tu l’inclines un coup et tu la redresses tout de suite! C’est précis, einh? :) Quant à la ricotta, c’est la ricotta de la marque Finetta qu’on trouve au supermarché et qui n’est pas très humide, donc je ne l’ai pas égouttée. Bonnes fêtes!

  • Ben-David

    Hi – I saved this a long time ago, and only made it last year.

    It was great!

    I then came up with a savory variation: replace 50 to 100 gr. of the cheese with feta or another salted cheese.

    This is excellent as “buffet food” with wine or other alcohol. The lightly salted cheese and the sweet-sour burst of the orange rind is a nice contrast.

  • Valerie & PIerre

    Quel gâteau extraordinaire ! Nous l’avons déjà fait quatre fois (au moins) et nous sommes en train de le déguster avec des étoiles dans les yeux.
    Il est merveilleux avec un chèvre frais bien humide un peu salé.
    Merci pour cette recette ! (et les autres !)

    • J’en suis absolument ravie, merci pour ce retour !

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