Hye Thyme Cafe: Cherry Tart with Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Crust

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cherry Tart with Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Crust

Cherry Tart with crust of chocolate graham crackers, espresso powder, and hazelnuts

Before I settled on what I wanted to make for Christmas this year, I found myself picking up random ingredients. I got Egg Nog but never made anything with it, a few bags of frozen cherries, different kinds of nuts, espresso powder, etc. I also had some Farmer Cheese in the freezer that I needed to use soon, so I decided to combine some of the items to come up with this dessert. I'll use more of the cherries on top in the future - once I started placing them and that occurred to me, it was too late to go back without ending up with a hot (pink) mess. Maybe I'll also have some extra hazelnuts on hand to sprinkle on top. Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised by the Farmer Cheese.

If you haven't used it before, there are two different versions in many markets. One is a firm cheese, which I don't care for and never use. The other is a soft cheese, almost like a brick of ricotta, but not as sweet. I recently read it best described as being like dry cottage cheese. I use it regularly in a spread for bagels and pita chips but had never baked with it before. I added a bit of cream cheese to smooth out the texture and noticed on the packages for the first time that the Farmer Cheese is lower in fat, sodium, cholesterol, etc., so if you're looking for an option ...

1 sleeve chocolate-flavored graham crackers
2 T sugar (not as much sugar required as for
  a traditional graham crust because the chocolate
  are pre-sweetened)
2 oz hazelnuts
1 t espresso powder
3 T butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla
2 (7.5 oz) pkgs Farmer Cheese
3 oz cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Set cherries in a strainer over a bowl or measuring cup to catch the juice (if still frozen, you can microwave them for a minute to start drawing out the juice)
  3. In a dry pan over medium heat, lightly toast the hazelnuts to bring out their flavor, immediately removing from the pan so the residual heat does not burn them
  4. Break up the graham crackers and add to the bowl of your food processor
  5. To that, add the 2T sugar, toasted hazelnuts, and espresso powder - pulse to a fine crumb
  6. Add the vanilla and melted butter and pulse again to combine
  7. Firmly press crust mixture into bottom and up sides of a lightly sprayed tart pan
  8. Bake 7-8" until set
  9. In your stand mixer, beat together the farmer cheese, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy
  10. Add the eggs, one at a time until combined, then the vanilla
  11. Spread mixture into prepared crust
  12. Blot cherries dry and arrange on top
  13. Bake for about 30" until set
  14. Optional - simmer cherry juice with a bit of sugar to reduce into a sauce to drizzle or dot on top

Cherry Tart with Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Crust : Hye Thyme Cafe


  1. This really looks good - farmer's cheese doesn't get the attention it deserves, it's such a versatile product.

    1. I need to do more experimenting with it myself. It's funny, I've always called if Farmer's Cheese like you wrote, but noticed (after 30+ years) that is says Farmer Cheese on the package.


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