Baked cheese tart was made popular in Singapore by several well-known Japanese bakeries, such as PABLO and BAKE, but the craze for cheese tarts soon died out, in less than a couple of years or so. In fact, I haven’t tasted any of the baked cheese tart sold by those franchise bakeries. When I travelled to Hiroshima, Japan two years ago, fortunately I tried some famous Hokkaido cheese tarts from BAKE; and needless to say, they were absolutely yummy. With COVID-19 affecting the world travelling industry, travelling to Japan is almost impossible at the moment. But thanks to cheese tart, it brings back fond holiday memories.
The cheese tart that I am going to share with you consists of matcha flavoured tart shell and cream cheese mousse filling. The addition of sakura flowers on the tarts transported me back in time and space to the spring cherry blossom season in Japan. Grab yourself a cup of green tea, and a little matcha sakura cheese tart for your afternoon tea today.
Watch this video to see how the cheese tarts were made:
Ingredients: (yield: 12 tarts of 6-cm round)
(A) Matcha tart shell
Cake flour 140g
Matcha powder 10g
Butter, cold cubes 85g
Ground almond 20g
Icing sugar 50g
(B) Cheese filling
Gelatin powder 1 tsp
Water 1 Tbsp
Cream cheese, softened 125g
Icing sugar 20g
Vanilla extract 1/4 tsp
Sakura liqueur 1.5 tsp
Whipped cream (soft peak) 100g
Pickled sakura flowers 12 pieces
- To make matcha tart shell: Sieve the cake flour and matcha powder. Add cold butter cubes to the flour mixture. Use a scrapper to cut the butter into smaller pea size pieces, and at the same time, toss and coat the butter with flour.
- Add in sifted ground almond and icing sugar. Mix well.
- Add egg to the mixture and form it into a dough. Stop mixing when you do not see any lumps of flour. Do not knead the dough or over-mix.
- Flatten the tart dough. Cover and chill it in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Then, roll out the chilled tart dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until you get an even thickness of 3mm. Return the tart dough to refrigerator and chill for another 30 minutes.
- Using a 10cm-round cookie cutter, cut out the tart dough and line it on each tart mould. With a knife, trim the edges of the dough to fit the tart mould. (Note: I am using a 6cm-round tart moulds. Lightly flour your fingers with bread flour so that the tart dough would not stick to your fingers.)
- If the tart dough becomes too soft and sticky to handle, cover it with parchment paper and chill the dough for about 30 minutes before continuing.
- By using a fork, pierce some holes at the bottom of the tart shells. Freeze the tart shells for about 30 minutes until firm.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven at 190 degree Celsius.
- Press parchment paper against the tart shell. Fill with baking beans/ pie weight/ dried beans/ uncooked rice, making sure they are fully distributed over the entire surface.
- Bake at lower rack for 15 minutes. Then, remove parchment paper and baking weight.
- Return tart shells to oven, and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the bottom of tart shells are golden brown and dry. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
- To make cheese filling: Sprinkle gelatin powder over water, and mix well. Set aside for about 15 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese with icing sugar and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add vanilla extract and sakura liqueur. Mix well.
- Melt the bloomed gelatin over a hot water bath, or use a microwave. Add melted gelatin to the cheese mixture and mix well.
- Gently fold in whipped cream. Transfer the finished cheese filling to a piping bag.
- To assemble: Soak pickled sakura in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry the flowers with paper towel. Set aside for later use.
- Pipe and fill the tart shells with cheese filling. Divide cheese filling evenly between 12 tarts.
- Chill the tarts for about an hour until set.
- Dust the tarts with some matcha powder, and decorate with sakura flowers.
- Serve chilled. Best consumed within 24 hours.