This recipe caught my eye as soon as I saw it. It has so many things I adore in a dessert, namely cream cheese and a crumbly streusel topping. This summer, I think I’ve eaten some of the best strawberries of my life (I don’t know what is happening, but thank you, farmers), so another strawberry dessert seemed appropriate to make.
I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, other than making it in a pie pan instead of a tart pan (okay, and adding a little more vanilla to the crust). This worked perfectly fine even though it wasn’t quite as pretty.
This recipe is great on many levels. First of all, though it does take some time overall because the dough needs to chill for the pie crust, all of the pieces come together quickly. You can also make everything in advance and just assemble it shortly before eating it (which is what I did). The fact that the cream cheese filling and strawberries are uncooked makes this dessert feel summery and light (even if it is kinda sorta loaded with butter). And the crust tastes like a sugar cookie. Win.
And can we talk about how you just bake a pan full of streusel? I mean, seriously. Why have I never thought to do this? You really don’t even need an actual dessert when you can just eat streusel (and eat it we did, since my pie pan had a smaller area than a tart pan would, which meant extra crumble topping. Score!)
Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart
1 sugar cookie crust (recipe follows)
1 almond crumb topping (recipe follows)
1 strawberry cream cheese filling (recipe follows)
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Place a sheet of parchment paper and some pie weights or beans on top of the prepared sugar cookie crust dough.
Bake the tart crust in the lower third of the oven and the crumb topping in the upper third. After 10 minutes, remove the paper and weights/beans from the tart shell and place it on the upper rack and the crumbs on the lower one.
Continue baking the tart shell until it is dry and light golden, 15 to 20 additional minutes. Bake the crumb topping until it is deep golden and firm, 10 to 15 additional minutes.
Cool the crust and crumb topping on wire racks until room temperature.
To assemble the tart, spread half the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Evenly scatter the crumb topping over the filling.
Sugar Cookie Crust
2 Tbsp. slivered or whole blanched almonds
6 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1.25 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. Scrape away any of the mixture caked up in the corner where the bottom meets the side of the bowl. Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.
Invert the dough to a floured surface and shape into a thick disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to a couple of days.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and leave it out for about 10-20 minutes, to come to room temperature (or a temperature where you can roll it without cracking, but it’s still firm). Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
Flour the work surface and the dough and gently roll the dough into a 13-inch disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed. Transfer the dough to the pan. Evenly fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against both the bottom and side of the pan. Trim away any excess dough at the rim of the pan by rolling over with a rolling pin or scraping it away with the back of a paring knife.
Slide the tart pan onto a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.
Almond Crumb Topping
1.24 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped into small pieces
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
Line a jelly roll pan with a silpat or parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes, then use your fingertips to break the mixture into 1/4- to 1/2-inch crumbs. Scatter the crumbs on the prepared pan.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp. lemon zest
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed just until it is smooth. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.