This luscious cream cheese torte sits on a shortbread crust and a hidden layer of strawberry jam.
I first made this dessert over eight years ago (!) when I belonged to the group Tuesdays with Dorie; a small group of bloggers that baked one recipe a week from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. I had received that cookbook for Christmas just a few weeks prior and instantly fell in love with the lovely, conversational tone that each recipe and headnote was written in. I’ve baked countless recipes from that book, and this recipe remains one of my top three favorites – a shortbread crust is topped with strawberry jam and a silky smooth cheesecake layer. Divine!
There’s a sneaky little ingredient in this recipe that surprised me and made me a little suspicious – cottage cheese!
I had never made a cheesecake previous to this one, or since, that used cottage cheese. Since you use a food processor to make the filling, the texture is silky smooth and you really have no idea that anything other than cream cheese is in there.
I made this for dessert last Sunday since no one else other than me had tasted it before, and I realized that it had been far too long since it graced my kitchen.
Everyone fawned over it and the majority went back for seconds. My husband said that it was the best dessert I’d made recently, along with the chocolate bread pudding. A few people specifically mentioned the flavor and texture of the cheesecake layer and how amazing it tasted; they couldn’t believe it when I told them what the “secret” ingredient was!
If you love cheesecake, make an excuse to get this into the oven as soon as possible!
Butter a 9-inch springform pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Make the Crust: Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse just to blend. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and continue to pulse until the dough comes together in clumps and curds - don't allow the dough to form a ball.
Turn the dough out into the pan and press an even layer over the bottom and about 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Fit a piece of buttered aluminum foil against the crust, covering it completely. Fill the crust with rice, dried beans or pie weights and slide the sheet into the oven. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Make the Filling: Stir the jam so that it's completely smooth, and spread it over the bottom of the crust (you can do this while the crust is still warm).
Put the cream cheese and cottage cheese into the food processor and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times, for 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the sugar, salt and spices and process for another 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the eggs and process, scraping the bowl as needed, for an additional minute. Pour the filling over the jam.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the filling is uniformly puffed and no longer jiggly. Gently transfer the springform pan to a cooling rack and allow the torte to cool to room temperature, during which time the filling will collapse.
Run a knife between the crust and the sides of the pan, then remove the sides of the springform. Chill the torte for at least four hours before serving. Leftovers should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to five days.