Friday, July 10, 2009

A Tart & The LBJ Ranch

Hi everyone, I'm back! We actually got back into town yesterday but I was exhausted and I spent the entire day today catching up on your blogs. There were a lot of them so I'm just now getting around to my birthday cheesecake tart with strawberries and posting about our "Hill Country" adventures. Truth be told, it's not very hilly.

We had a great time in Fredericksburg at the B&B. My only complaint (because there's always one!) was that it was so freakin' hot! We would go out and browse shops, eat breakfast or lunch and walk around. We could only do this for a couple hours at a time, then take a break from the heat. We'd go back to the cottage, strip down to our skivvies and turn all the fans on and lay around. Probably more info than you'd like to know, but it was necessary :-)

On our first day we stopped in Stonewall, TX, home and resting place of President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird. He owned an expansive amount of ranch land where cattle roam and the Pedernales River flows. his home, the cemetery and the surrounding land were all really beautiful. I took tons of pictures, but this would be a very long post if I were to post them all, so here are just a few.

And if I haven't lost you yet...

Cheesecake Tart from Martha Stewart
Graham Cracker-Pecan Crust:
  • 6 graham crackers (2 1/2 by 5 inches each)
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 2 bars (8 oz. each) cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, grind graham crackers, almonds, and 1/4 cup sugar until finely ground; add butter, and process until moistened. Transfer to a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Using the base of a dry measuring cup, press mixture firmly into the bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze at least 15 minutes.

For the filling: Carefully wipe processor blade and bowl clean. Place cream cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt in food processor; blend just until smooth. Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet; fill with cheesecake mixture. Bake until filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer tart pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Top with fresh sliced fruit or a blueberry-plum topping.

NOTE: This crust was a little crumbly and kept breaking away, so be very gentle when handling. Perhaps a little more butter would keep it together???

This tart was delicious. It was creamy, yet dense, but not hard. And it was the perfect amount of filling to crust ratio. The crust was nutty and buttery and crunchy, just like I like it. My husband didn't like the nuts in the crust though, he would have preferred it plain. But this tart was not for him!

I topped my tart with fresh sliced strawberries macerated in a little sugar. It was a perfect and light topping.

I'll be back in a couple days to tell/show you more of my trip!


Lissaloo said...

Beautiful pictures! The tart looks delicious :)

Donna-FFW said...

The tart looks gorgeous!! Creamy and delicious.

Your photos are wonderful.. I am all for laying around in the skivvies!

BisSis said...

Hi Monica! What a great cool summer dessert! Thanks for the reminder about how awesome the Hill Country is. I stayed at a Cherry Springs B&B a few years ago, and had the best time. It's one of my favorite parts of the state, but it definitely is hot now! We're expecting 103 again today in Dallas.

Kathy said...

Looks delish!!! I'm telling ya - I wished you were my neighbor!!!

We used to go to LBJ Ranch all the time when I was a child. Such a beautiful place!!!

Heather S-G said...

Such beautiful photos...what a relaxing summer getaway (despite the smoldering heat)! And the tart looks awesome, too!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Hey, Monica! Glad to have you back!

Your tart is gorgeous and you know how I feel about "strawberry" flowers on top of desserts...LOVE 'em!

I'm going to remember to add nuts to the next cheesecake crust I make. Sounds really good.

Foodiewife said...

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm. Creamy with beautiful red strawberries. I'm salivating. Thanks for sharing photos of your trip-- as for heat, I feel ya. I wilt in temps over 80 degrees. C'mon over to the coast of California!


Selba said...

Welcome back!

Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures of your trip :)

The cheesecake looks so delicious. I think my mom is going to bake a cheesecake pretty soon because I saw some cheesecake ingredients in her kitchen. Hopefully I can share aka blog about it.

Coleens Recipes said...

Welcome back!! The tart looks ALMOST as good as your photo of the blueberry-cream cheese-bacon bagle (my all time favorite photo of yours).

cookies and cups said...

Gorgeous pictures!!!!

Kerstin said...

Sounds like you had a lovely trip - welcome back!

I love the almonds in the tart crust, it sounds really good! And your strawberries on top are so pretty.

Treehouse Chef said...

I am so glad you had a great time on vacation!! Love the tart. It looks delicious as do all of your recipes!!!

Maria said...

Thanks for sharing your photos! Looks like fun! And the tart is lovely!

Sophie said...

Martha would be proud, this tart is perfect...she might even be a little jealous :D.

Anonymous said...

I have been having such a good time checking out your beautiful blog, I had to stop somewhere and tell you.

Your photos of food and other are inspiring. I want to make everything I see.

Thanks for sharing this.

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Hi MOnica, I just found your blog and am enjoying reading every bit of bit...thank you and I hope you stop by too. I'll keep on visiting!


Mermaid Sews said...

Love the tart, your strawberry desserts always look soo good.

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