Hazelnut Cheesecake Tart with Pears and Pomegranate

hazelnut cheesecake tart with pears and pomegranate | apt 2b baking co
hazelnut cheesecake tart with pears and pomegranate | apt 2b baking co
chazelnut cheesecake tart with pears and pomegranate | apt 2b baking co

I have been in Seattle for the last week or so visiting family, brushing up on my "duck, duck, goose" skills and reconnecting with some friends I haven't seen in ages. Seattle is totally living up to it's reputation and it has been 40º and raining for pretty much my entire visit...but it has been such a good excuse to eat lots of soup, cozy up by the fire and go to sleep early every night.  It also has been a wonderful and restful way to ease into the holiday season which feels busier and more hectic every year.

Last year around this time I was deep into writing my book, and didn't have a ton of free time for holiday baking fun and homemade gifts, but I have big plans this year! I might even need to buy myself a new glue gun, watch out Martha Stewart.

First up in my holiday baking spree is this super delicious cheesecake-inspired tart. Cheesecake can be heavy and cloyingly sweet, but in this tart the combination of creamy mascarpone, toasty hazelnuts and sweet-tart pears and pomegranates are a lovely and balanced combination. 

What's on your holiday baking list this year? I am always looking for new ideas!

Hazelnut Cheesecake Tart with Pears and Pomegranate

makes one 10-inch tart

Creamy mascarpone, toasted hazelnuts and sweet-tart pears and pomegranates are a wonderful combination of textures and flavors in this festive holiday tart. This tart can be made in advance, but the crust will soften in the refrigerator as it sits.



2/3 cup hazelnuts

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 large egg yolk

1-2 tablespoons cold water, as needed


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt


2 pears, ripe but firm

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, grind the hazelnuts and confectioner’s sugar until they resemble flour. Add the flour and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and one tablespoon of water. Pulse until the mixture begins to hold together, add a bit more water if necessary. The dough should hold together easily when squeezed. Pour the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a ball. Wrap the ball with the plastic wrap and press into a disc. Chill for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Fit the dough into lightly buttered 10-inch tart pan and dock the bottom and sides with a fork. Freeze the shell for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line the tart shell with a lightly greased sheet of foil. Bake for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown on the edges. Remove the foil and let the shell cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 350ºF.

With an electric mixer whip the cream cheese and mascarpone together until light and fluffy. Whip in the sugar followed by the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and smooth.

Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake until puffed and set, but still slightly wiggly in the center, 20-25 minutes. Let the tart cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight before serving.

Roast the pears: Preheat oven to 375­ºF. Peel core and slice the pears into 1/4-inch slices. Toss the pears, sugar, and lemon juice together on a baking sheet and roast until soft and slightly caramelized, 25-30 minutes.

Let the pears cool to room temperature then top the chilled tart with the roasted pears and pomegranate seeds.

Apple and Quince Gingerbread

Apple and Quince Gingerbread

I hope you're not sick of quince because here's another quince cake to add to your recipe box. You may remember this ginger and quince cake from way back when, but don't worry, this cake has a whole different thing going on. In this preparation the quince are mixed with some sliced apples and a bit of butter and sugar then caramelized before being tucked into a smooth, gingery cake batter. The result is a golden cake with a crisp top that is full of warm spices and it's just perfect for a cozy fall day with a cup of something to warm you.

p.s. I'll be out celebrating Jen Causey's book launch tomorrow night! Will I see any of you guys there?

Apple and Quince Gingerbread

yield 1, 9'' cake

adapted from


2 large apples

1 large quince

4 ounces plus 1 ounce butter

4 tablespoons coarse sugar (turbinado or light demerara)

6.5 ounce all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3.75 ounces brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root

2 tablespoons molasses

3 tablespoons rum or bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk

10 walnut halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a 9'' cake pan.

1. Core and peel the apples and quince then cut into thin slices. Melt 1 ounce of butter in a skillet and stir in the apple and quince slices until coated with butter, then add 2 tablespoons coarse sugar. Saute over medium heat stirring occasionally until the fruit has softened and caramelized slightly. Set aside to cool while you prepare the cake batter.

2. In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

3. In a stand mixer cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the zests, grated ginger, molasses, rum or bourbon and vanilla extract.

4. Slowly stir in the flour mixture followed by the buttermilk until the batter is smooth.

5. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, top with the sautéed apples and quince, then pour the rest of the batter on top and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the walnut halves on top (if using) then sprinkle with the remaining coarse sugar.

6. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. This cake is best the day that it's made, but will last for a few days in an airtight container.