Tarta de queso, the most famous Canarian dessert

tarta de queso at Nakar

In any Canarian restaurant you will always find the most famous dessert of the island: Tarta de Queso.

The dessert comes from Antica Grecia, around 4000 years ago, specifically mentioned in scripts from the Island of Samos in front of Turkey.

Tarta de queso was considered to be very energizing and from 776 a.C it had been introduced in the diet of athletes for the Olympic games.

For the modern version of Tarta de Queso (called cheesecake in the US) we had to wait until 1872 when in New York a man called Larence de Chester was attempting to create Neufchatel, a popular crumbly product at the time, but made a big scaling mistake and created a spreadable cheese which he called “cream cheese” and in 1880 renamed “Philadelphia Cream Cheese”.

In Spain the Tartas de Queso started to be popular in the North because of the availability of fields with cows but when modern technology allowed refrigeration and easy ingredients transportation also the other regions started to introduce this dessert and among them Canary Islands.

In Gran Canaria the recipe has often been adapted by introducing a part of “queso de cabra”, goat cheese, giving the dessert a sharper taste.

The most known recipe for Tarta the Queso is the following:

1000g Cream cheese (Philadelphia or similar) at room temperature
400g Sugar
7 Eggs at room temperature
13g Flour
500g Whole fat cream

1) Mix the cream cheese and sugar
2) Once combined add the eggs 1 at a time
3) Sift the flour and combine
4) Add the cream and mix well

Cook at 200 degrees Celsius in a static oven for 30-45mins. The cooking time depends on your oven, if the top of the cake starts to become colored around 25 mins put a tin foil on top and lower the temperature to 180 degrees Celsius.

Once cooked remove from the oven, let it cool 2 hours at room temperature and 4 hours in the fridge, then remove it from the fridge for 15 minutes and it will be ready to serve.

This basic recipe is quite sweet, you can also lower the amount of sugar to 300g and for a “canarian” version you can lower the amount of cream cheese and add a local canarian queso de cabra.
The amount to add depends on the strength of its flavor. Usually it’s 10-20% of the cream cheese weight, so for this recipe having 1000g I would substitute 100-200g of cream cheese with goat cheese.
Using a blender will give you better results and a smoother texture.

Having dairy and eggs in the recipe I suggest you to keep the cake in the fridge for up to 2 days. Buen provecho!

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