The traditional Tourteau Fromagé is a specialty cheesecake of Poitou Charentes, a tranquil and largely unspoilt region halfway down the western coast of France. The cheesecake is unique, in appearance and taste. It has a charcoal-black crust on top, which is achieved by baking it at a very high temperature at first, before lowering the temperature for the rest of the baking time. Unlike just about everything in the American cheesecake family, the torteau is not soft, creamy, moist, or even rich. Instead, it's a fairly dry cake, similar to a sponge cake, that you can cut into wedges and eat out of hand.
Although I've never experienced the traditional version, I'm glad Dorie's emerges from the oven quite different, and beautifully puffed and golden brown, like a soufflé. It also deflates rapidly once out of the oven.
The recipe provides the option of using a savory or sweet tart dough, depending on whether you plan to serve it with white wine as an apertif, as a dessert with a drizzle of honey and fresh fruit, in the afternoon with tea, or in the morning with coffee.
The filling is made with a soft goat cheese, egg yolks, sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch, a touch of Cognac, and whipped egg whites gently folded in. It's best to use an 8-inch springform pan, but I made do with a pie dish. I had a little piece at the party, and loved the soft and light texture. It had a nice flavor, and excellent just on its own, but I think some fresh strawberries and a drizzle of syrupy balsamic vinegar would be the perfect pairing.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, that just hit 2,000 members, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!