Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust for Apricot Cheesecake Tart and Pear Galette

IMG_8192I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this cookbook over the past month. The book is massive, packed with an overwhelming amount of information. The recipes are detailed, tedious and require close reading long before beginning a recipe. However, I am warming up to the book…the end products are absolutely fabulous, and Rose Levy Beranbaum’s labor-intensive details are what makes a nostalgically delicious, and unforgettable result.

I made the cream cheese pastry/pie crust twice now, for both the Apricot Cheesecake Tartand The Pear Galette. I found it easier the second time around. And, I’m motivated to attempt it again this weekend. Three seems to be the magic number for me. Over the course of this blog, I notice that I tend to repeat each recipe three times before moving on. I believe the repetition provides me the confidence to feel that I actually know what I’m doing, and that attempting the recipe in the future will feel familiar.

I am including the recipe for the Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust. If you would like the details on the Apricot Cheesecake Tartor the Galette, message me and I’ll get it to you.

Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 and 1/3 of a cup pastry flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt,
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder,
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese, cold
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ice water,
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (Vinegar reduces the formation of gluten, which makes the pastry tough…who knew?!?!?!)

Directions to Make the Tart/Pie Crust

1. BUTTER Preparation
Cut the butter into small pieces, ¾” cubes.
Wrap it in plastic
Freeze until it’s frozen solid, at least 30 minutes.

2.    DRY INGREDIENTS Preparation
Place the flour, salt and baking powder into zip-lock gallon size freezer bag
Freeze for 30 minutes or longer if desired.

3. PUTTING IT ALL Together with a Food Processor
a.     Take the flour mixture out of the freezer and put it into a food processor.
b.     Process it with a metal blade for a few seconds.
c.      Cut the cold cream cheese into 3 to 4 pieces.
d.     Add it to the flour mixture in the food processor.
e.     Process for 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles a course meal.
f.      Add frozen butter cubes and pulse until the butter is no larger than the size of a pea
g.     Toss with a fork to see it better.
h.     Remove the cover and pour in the ice-cold water and vinegar.
i.       Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas, or smaller.           (Mine was looked like a corn meal.                                                                                             NOTE: The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together.
j.       Spoon the mixture into the plastic bag that was used for the flour.
k.     Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture alternatively, pressing it from the outside of the bag with the knuckles and the heels of your hand.
l.       Do this until the mixture holds together in one piece and feel slightly stretchy.
m.   Remove the dough from the bag.
n.     Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc.
o.     Refrigerate for 45 minutes or longer…preferably overnight.


What to do with the pastry if you plan to fill the pastry with liquid filling and bake again:
Pre-Baking for Apricot Cheesecake Tart. Page 208 of this cookbook
·       Preheat oven to 425. degrees F.
·       Begin by rolling the tart pastry to fit the tart pan.
·       Lay the pastry carefully on tart pan and snuggle the sides with the dough.
·       Fit a piece of parchment over the pastry and fill the pasty with pie weights (I used rice; beans work wells too)
·       Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on 425 degrees F. NOTE: Make sure the oven is completely hot before putting in the pastry.
·       Remove the pie weights and parchment paper.
·       While the pastry it is still warm (about 3 minutes after taking it out of the oven), brush the bottom with an egg white wash. This will seal the crust so it will remain crisp after then 2nd baking.



What to do with the pastry if you plan to make a Galette/Fruit Filled Tart
·       If you plan to fill the pasty with fruit, making the Apple/Pear Galette, begin by rolling the tart out to fit the tart pan.
·       Lay the pastry carefully on tart pan and snuggle the sides with the dough.
·       Refrigerate for about 45 minutes
·       After filling with fruit, bake for 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
·       It is suggested to bake this on a hot pizza/baking stone on the lowest rack in the oven



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