Ewe’s Cheesecake Tart – Queijada de Évora
I tracked down and bought this fresh cheese from producers Angela and Tim in Somerset called Homewood Cheeses.
This tart is based on a traditional Portuguese cheesecake recipe from the southern part of Portugal. The name Évora is the name of the big city in the region and queijada means cheesecake or something made of cheese. I made a large tart here but normally I’ve seen these tarts made into individual ones.
The reason why you should make this recipe is because of the incredible creaminess ewe’s fresh cheese produces in this tart. It gives a voluptuous mouthfeel as if it has double cream. Even after four days in the fridge it was still satisfyingly rich and luscious. It reminds of the difference between eating cow and buffalo mozzarella.
Above is the tart made on the day of baking before refrigeration as you can see the cheese is very soft and creamy and still quite gooey. Left overnight in the fridge that slight cheesiness mellows allowing to the foreground the lemon and vanilla flavouring.
The ewe’s fresh cheese as it arrived. It has a slight ‘curd’ texture about it, which made realise I had to sieve it later.
Add 1 whole egg and 5 egg yolks.
Melt the butter really slowly, making sure it doesn’t boil because that would make it separate.
Start melting the butter on low heat when it starts to melt remove it from the heat and let the residue heat of the pan finish melting the rest. This is why I’m not melting it in the microwave because I have less control over the heat.
Let it cool a bit.
To the cream cheese add the sugar and eggs and whisk for a few seconds until well blended (using electric whisk), now add the cooled melted butter and vanilla extract (or paste) and whisk again for few seconds.
At this point the mixture is loose enough making it easy to sieve. The reason for this is because I found the occasional little hard niblet in the cheese.
You can add a tiny bit of lemon zest, half a teaspoon, it’s enough to come through mild hint after refrigeration but not turn it into a lemon tart. Leave it out if you don’t like lemon flavour.
For everything to do with the pastry including recipe read my posts here.
Bake the tart in a low to moderate heat to set the eggs. I’ve put times and temperature in the recipe below but the truth is you have to know your oven.
Get it to the point it just sets, this means when gently jiggling the tin there’s the mildest of a ripple effect through the tart. The tart will initially puff up and as soon as it starts to show signs of cracking on the edge like this take it out. The time between no cracks and cracks can be as little as 5 minutes.
Let it cool in the tin for a good 20 minutes and then remove it.
Let it cool down completely before putting it in the fridge overnight. Bring it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it’s not fridge-cold and the flavours are more pronounced.
For shortcrut pastry recipe here, blind baked.
- 500g fresh ewe’s cheese
- 250g sugar (caster or granulated)
- 1 whole egg, medium size
- 5 egg yolks, medium size
- 75g butter melted gently without boiling (salted or slightly salted)
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- half teaspoon of finely lemon rind (optional)
- Cool the pastry in the tin while making the filling. Cool the butter.
- Mix the cheese with sugar and eggs for a few seconds with electric whisk until well mixed. Add the butter and vanilla extract and mix well again.
- Sieve the mixture. Add the lemon rind if using.
- Put the cheese mixture into the pastry case and bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and just barely showing signs of little cracks on the edge, see above for details.
- Leave to cool in tin for 20 minutes or so before removing it. Once completely cold put it in the fridge overnight.