Fill It and Forget It: Cream Cheese Crostata with Orange Marmalade

I wanted another Italian dessert to go along with my brutti ma buoni, and I found a recipe for a cream cheese crostata with orange marmalade on epicurious that I could easily fit into my baking schedule. It requires very little active time, because the filling doesn't require any baking.

However, after reading some of the user comments on the recipe, I decided to alter the technique for making the crust. You are supposed to combine flour and sugar on a work surface, and then mix in half of an egg yolk and bits of chilled butter with your hands until a dough forms. Multiple bakers commented that they needed to add additional liquid to get the dough to come together. Mixing a fussy crust together with my hands isn't my idea of fun, so I decided use a food processor. I just blitzed together the flour, sugar, and butter until the butter was incorporated, and then added the egg yolk and processed the mixture until it came together. 

Also, the recipe says that you should press the crust into a tart pan with your fingers. But after an hour of chilling, my dough was firm enough that I could neatly roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper and line the tart pan without a problem. When I baked the crust, the edges lost some height to shrinkage, but there wasn't any shrinkage in diameter; the bottom became a little puffy, but I just used a tart tamper to flatten the bottom of the crust while it was still hot from the oven.

After the crust is baked and cooled, finishing the tart is a snap. The filling is just a mixture of cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar. You fill the shell, chill the tart, and then add orange marmalade and toasted almonds.

This tart is so good. The filling is so simple and yet so incredibly delicious. It was perfectly smooth and silky, and compared to a cheesecake filling, it was lighter, more delicately flavored, and less astringent. The filling set nicely and kept its shape beautifully when sliced. I could eat a bowl of the filling by itself; it's extraordinary stuff. Plus, the tart orange marmalade is the perfect bright counterpoint to the mildly sweet filling, and the almonds add just the right amount of crunch. The crust was nice and light, and it wasn't soggy at all.

I make a lot of tarts, but I can't remember the last time I enjoyed one as much as this.

Recipe: "Cream Cheese Crostata with Orange Marmalade" from