Winners of our 2010 fresh cheese contest

The Apple Fromage Torte and Savory Egg and Ricotta Squares wowed us from the start

In February 2010, we asked readers to send in original recipes using the ricotta and/or fromage blanc we’d made in that issue. Submissions came in from across the country, and were tested both by the staff at the cheese festival and here at Sunset.

Two wowed us from the start, and they are our winners: Apple Fromage Torte, from Karen Von Dollen, of Santa Barbara, and puffy golden Savory Egg and Ricotta Squares With Shiitakes and Arugula, from Jamie Brown-Miller, of Napa.

Both winners received free tickets and an overnight stay at California's Artisan Cheese Festival (March 26-29, 2010, in Petaluma, CA). Here are the recipes for you to enjoy in your own homes:

Best Dessert


Created by Sunset reader Karen Von Dollen, of Santa Barbara

Serves: 12

Time: 2 hours, plus cooling time


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and cut in chunks
  • About 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1¼ tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups (about 1 lb.) full-fat fromage blanc
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1½ tsp. apple pie spice (or scant 1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ground ginger)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cups chopped (1/2 in.) peeled tart-sweet apples such as Fuji

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, whirl butter, 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla until dough holds together. Using floured fingers, evenly press dough over bottom and 1 1/2 in. up sides of a 9-in. springform pan that’s about 2½ in. tall.

2. Bake crust until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make filling: In food processor, pulse fromage blanc, 1/4 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla until blended.

3. Combine 1/3 cup sugar with apple pie spice, then lemon juice, in a bowl. Shortly before crust is done prebaking, gently toss apples with sugar mixture.

4. Spread cheese filling in hot crust, using a flexible spatula. Distribute apples over cheese.

5. Set torte on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until filling jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes.

6. Transfer torte to a cooling rack. Tip pan and spoon off any excess liquid with a small spoon. Let cool completely. To serve, run a thin knife around inside rim of pan to loosen, then remove torte.

Make ahead: Up to 1 day, chilled

Next: Savory Egg and Ricotta Squares with Shiitakes and Arugula