Cherry-Orange Cream Cheese Tartlets

Cherry-orange cream cheese tartlets

One of the many perks of my job is access to what is fondly called the "take-home fridge." Any foods that the test cooks are done with or ingredients they've finished using go into the fridge, and anyone can take them home. I came home with a bag of cherries one day and immediately started looking through my cookbooks for inspiration. I knew I didn't want to make a cherry pie but something more interesting.

Cherry-orange cream cheese tartlets

Eventually I found a recipe for cherry-vanilla compote in The Sweet Life and thought the compote would make an interesting filling for tartlet shells. I decided on hazelnut tartlet shells for their nutty flavor and then began thinking about how a cream cheese filling would complement the cherry compote too. So from a combination of random recipes with lots of tweaks, these delicate, festive cherry-orange cream cheese tartlets were created.

Cherry-orange cream cheese tartlets

Cherry-Orange Cream Cheese Tartlets
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Makes 25


Hazelnut Tartlet Shells (adapted from The Sweet Life)
2.5 ounces hazelnut flour (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk, room temperature

Cherry Compote (adapted from The Sweet Life)
1 pound sweet cherries, pitted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice, from 1 Cara Cara orange
1/4 cup sugar

Cream Cheese Filling (adapted from Baking)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons orange zest, from 1 Cara Cara orange


For the hazelnut tartlet shells: In a small bowl, whisk together hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add sugar and beat on medium-high speed until mixture becomes light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

Add egg yolk and beat until incorporated.

Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

Press dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Unwrap dough disk and place on lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Roll dough out on parchment into a 13- by 9-inch rectangle. Slide dough with parchment onto sheet pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile arrange 25 tartlet pans on a 13- by 9-inch rimmed sheet pan. Flip dough onto tartlet pans, and peel away parchment. Let dough warm slightly, then press dough into tartlet pans.

Roll over pans with rolling pin to allow pans to cut through dough. Taking each pan individually, push dough into pan and wipe away any excess dough using fingertips. Clean away any dough scraps, and rearrange tartlet pans on baking sheet. Place sheet pan in fridge.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then remove sheet pan from fridge and prick tartlets all over with fork.

Place sheet pan in oven, and bake tartlet shells for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown, turning halfway through baking. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

Gently push tartlet shells out of tartlet pans and arrange on plate.

For the cherry compote: Combine cherries, vanilla, orange juice, and sugar in medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer compote to an ice bath to cool.

Scoop cherries out of liquid into bowl of food processor.

Discard cherry liquid or reserve for another use (such as a fun cocktail or cherry cream cheese brownies). Process cherries until chopped, about 5 seconds. Transfer cherries to bowl.

For the cream cheese filling: In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until softened, then add in sugar and vanilla. Scrape down bowl.

Switch to whisk attachment and add Greek yogurt. Whisk until smooth, then add in orange zest.

To assemble: Divide cream cheese mixture among tartlet shells, about 1 scant teaspoon each.

Use a small offset spatula to spread cream cheese in shells.

If cherries look very juicy, drain them again. Then divide cherries among tartlets. (I found it easiest to scoop them up with a fork. You will likely have about 1/2 cup cherry mixture leftover that you can reserve for another use, such as cherry cream cheese brownies.) Serve.

(Tarts can be refrigerated for a few hours, but it's best to fill them shortly before serving them so they don't get soggy.)

Cherry-orange cream cheese tartlets

What would you make if you suddenly had a bag of cherries to work with?