#header-inner {background-position: center !important; width: 100% !important;}

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart

Pin It
Strawberries are back. There are huge stacks of them at the grocery store each week, bright red berries in the prime of their ripeness. I've gotten into the habit of buying them, and will continue to do so until the (sad) day when they disappear from grocery shelves or start to look pathetic and unappetizing. Although I'm perfectly happy washing them, chopping off their tops, and eating them by the handful, I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate them into recipes.

As soon as Tracey posted this Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble tart, I immediately bookmarked the recipe and made a mental note to make it as soon as I found a good-looking batch of berries. Easter weekend rolled around, the berries were in their prime, and I eagerly picked up the ingredients and got to work....only to realize I was supposed to refrigerate the crust overnight. There wasn't time to do so, so I ended up doing my own thing--adjusting the recipe slightly to make only one tart crust, minimizing the amount of crumb topping, per Tracey's suggestion, (there was still plenty!), and assembling the entire tart and refrigerating overnight (which didn't appear to affect the texture one bit).
The result was wonderful, kind of a cross between a pie, a cheesecake, and a fruit crisp. In other words, a triple threat of deliciousness! As good as it was cold, I took the leftovers and stuck them in the freezer, only to discover it was just as good (and easier to slice and serve!) as a frozen dessert. Either way, you can't go wrong with this dessert. Make it now while strawberries are in season!

(This isn't the first time I've fallen in love with a strawberry dessert! Check out the Strawberry Cream Tart, Strawberry Cream Puff Cake, Strawberry Amaretto ShortcakesFrozen Strawberry Squares, and of course the most popular recipe of all time on my blog: Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries!

One Year Ago: Rainbow Chopped Salad
Two Years Ago: Basil Baked Tilapia

Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart
as seen on Tracey's Culinary Adventures, from Nick Malgieri

for the tart crust-
-1/8 cup slivered or whole blanched almonds
-3/8 cup (about 42 grams, I measured mine) confectioners' sugar
-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
-1 large egg yolk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 (10 inch) tart pan with removable bottom (I used a 9-inch pan and then made a mini tart the leftovers)

for the filling-
-1 lb cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 lb (about 1 1/2 pints) strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved or quartered

for the crumble topping-
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-pinch of salt
-1/8 cup slivered or whole blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
-4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. To make the tart crust, combine the almonds and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a food processor, pulsing until finely ground (about 1 minute). Add the flour and the salt and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolks and vanilla and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball.
2. Remove the dough from the food processor, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour (dough can be prepared and refrigerated several days in advance). When ready to make the tart, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften to a cool room temperature, about 20 minutes. Unwrap and roll out on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan and press it into the pan, trimming away any excess dough. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight (I skipped this step and suffered no ill effects).
3. To make the crumble topping, preheat the oven to 350F, with oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the almonds before using a spatula to stir in the butter. Allow the mixture to start for a few minutes before breaking it into small crumbs with your fingers. Scatter the crumbs onto a foil or parchment lined baking pan.
4. Before baking, top your tart crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the tart crust on the lower third of the oven and the crumb topping in the upper third for 10 minutes. Remove the weights from the tart crust along with the parchment paper and swap the crust and the crumb topping, so that the crust is now on the upper rack and the crumb topping is on the lower rack.
5. Bake the crumble topping for an additional 10-15 minutes, until deep golden and firm, before removing from oven. Bake the crust for an additional 15-20 minutes, until dry and light golden. Allow both to cool on wire racks.
6. To make the cream cheese filling, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla, beating until light (about 1 minute).
7. To assemble the tart, spread half of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust. Top with sliced berries. Cover with the remaining filling before scattering the crumb topping over everything. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.