I have a cookbook that was given to me last year on my birthday that I haven’t really gotten into until recently. I’m not sure why, because the recipes all look delicious if you enjoy Spanish cuisine. Perhaps I went to it when I was searching for new tapas to make for a get together. I suppose I rarely looked past the tapas section — Chapter One. Now, how sad is that? But now that I’ve had more time to look through the book, I’ve tagged quite a few delectable main dishes to enjoy in the future. And this past weekend, I had the opportunity to decide whether I’d make the “Basque Apple Custard Tart” or the “Exremadura-Style Cheese Tart.”
Since it was recently my birthday, I had hoped to have the opportunity to make myself a cheesecake like my mother always did, and since we’d invited ourselves to a friend’s house for dinner, I decided I could get my cheesecake cravings satisfied, and treat my friends to the calories all at the same time. Smart thinking, yes?
The “Cheese Tart” seemed perfect until I got online and searched for the Torta de La Serena or Torta del Casar cheese in my area. I did find one, yes ONE cheese shop called Venissimo that stocked both cheeses, but none was available. I’m sure it’s because many cheeses are only available at certain times in the year, and I’m not familiar with when. Just for fun, and since the opportunity presented itself, I sent an email to the kind folks at Venissimo not expecting a response any time soon — at least that day. Well, was I surprised when not minutes later, my email in-box chimed and I’d received a response — texted from a Blackberry no less! Now, that’s what I call service! Unfortunately, I now have to wait for them to contact me about when either of the cheeses arrives. I now have something to look forward to and thanks to Venissimo, I will hopefully be able to sample the cheese tart when the product arrives.
In the meantime, I decided to settle for “Basque Apple Custard Tart” on the very hottest day we’ve had in the five years we’ve lived in this house. I was so miserable, that we turned on the AC as soon as the oven cooled down and we’d left for the dinner party with tart in tow, anticipating a very cool house upon our return. It’s been on since then and I cringe to know what the electricity bill will be.
This “Tarta Vasca de Manzana de Baserri Maitea” or “Baserri Maitea’s Basque Apple Custard Tart” is from Penelope Casas’ La Cocina de Mama. If you enjoy tapas, you may be familiar with another of her cookbooks, Tapas.
The recipe calls for a 9″ tart pan, but I couldn’t resist breaking out my thin rectangular pan. I rarely use it as I have too many people to serve. Since I was committed to using it this time, I decided people would just have to eat smaller pieces. Surprisingly, it fed six quite well.