Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart

This is my 100th post!!!
When I go to the bookstore, my favorite thing to do is look at cookbooks.  Not that I usually buy one, I just want to look.  A couple months ago, I was perusing cookbooks when I saw this recipe.  And I was sold.  I went home and ordered the book that day.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  It's one of my favorite cookbooks right now.  I have yet to make anything out of it that I didn't love.  Including these three things.

I had one of those weekends were I was on the brink of blowing up my kitchen just for annoying me.  I had to make a second batch of my crumble topping because I burnt the first and I had a fight with the tart dough.  There were a few other things that happened but I would just assume forget the whole ordeal.  It was just one of those weekends where things didn't go well and I started to wonder if I would finish this tart or end up throwing it on the floor (by accident or out of frustration).  I am glad I finished and it was worth the effort, even if it took more effort than it should have.  It tasted like fruit pizza to me and I can't begin to convey my love for fruit pizza.  You could probably use something other than strawberries here, but I am a strawberry girl.  Next time I make this, and I will make it again, I am going to pulse the baked and cooled crumble topping and few times so it's a little less chunky, but that's one of those personal preference issues.  Oh, and if I have another fight with my tart dough, I will just press it into the pan instead of trying to roll it out.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumble Tart
barely adapted from:  Bake! by Nick Malgieri
Tart dough
1/8 cup slivered almonds, optional
1/4+1/8 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Almond Crumb Topping
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup slivered almonds
8 T butter (1 stick), melted

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
1 lb cream cheese (2 pkg), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced or quartered
powdered sugar to dust the top of tart before serving

Combine almonds and powdered sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute.  (No visible pieces of almond should remain.)  Add flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine.  Add butter and pulse until no visible pieces remain.  Add yolks and vanilla and process until mixture forms a ball.  
Shape the dough into a thick disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (You can prepare several days in advance and keep refrigerated or double wrap and freeze and then thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.)  Remove dough from fridge and let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.  Unwrap and place on floured surface.  (I used 2 pieces of wax paper or parchment paper) and roll into a 13 inch circle.  
Transfer to tart pan (this is where the fight started.  My dough kept wanting to crack and break.  Next time I might just press it in the pan.) and clean the edges with the rolling pin.  
Slide tart pan onto a cookie sheet (if you are using a pie plate, there is no need for the cookie sheet) cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before baking.  

When ready to bake crust, preheat the oven to 350.
Prepare the crumble topping, in a med bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in the almonds.  Use a rubber spatula to stir in the butter.  
Let mixture stand for a few minutes and then break up into 1/4-1/2 inch crumbs with fingers.  
Scatter crumbs into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place parchment paper inside the tart dough and add beans or pie weights.  
Bake the tart crust in the lower third of the oven with the crumble in the upper third.  After 10 minutes remove the parchment and weights from the crust and move to the upper third of the oven and the crumble to the lower.  Continue baking until the tart shell is dry and golden about another 15-20 minutes.  Bake the crumble until it's deep golden and firm, about another 10 minutes.  Cool both completely. Here is where I would chop my crumble more finely.

For the cream cheese filling, with mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest, beat until light, about 1 minute. 

To assemble, spread half of the cream cheese filling into the tart, add strawberries, 
then the other half of the filling.  Add crumble topping and 

just before serving dust with powdered sugar if desired.  

This was good the first day, but I thought it was even better on the second day.
Fruits to try, fresh raspberries, blueberries, or mixture of all three berries.  Fresh peaches or mango would also be good!

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