Please, promise you will never let on how simple this glamorous dessert is to make. Let them taste it and look at you with the combination of lust and admiration that is inevitable when they see– and then taste– sweet whipped cream cheesy-fluffiness topped with juicy glazed luscious strawberries, all contained in a crumbly rich crust. Let them love you deeply, madly, and for as long as there is more of your magical tart on their plate.
Strawberry Cheesecake Tart
The crust, which takes about 10 minutes to make (and another 16 to bake), may be made one day in advance of filling. It should be cooled completely before it is filled. The filling will take you less than 15 minutes to make, and may be prepared and put in the cooled crust one day in advance. The glorious strawberries should be added the day the tart is served.
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces cold butter, cut in bits
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese (light or regular)
1 cup sour cream (light or regular)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean*
1 1/2 pounds strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons currant jelly
1. Make the crust: preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Use either the food processor or a pastry fork to blend the flour, butter and sugar together until it resembles coarse sand. Transfer to a 9-inch fluted tart pan, and press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Prick in several places with a fork and place on a shallow baking sheet pan; bake until golden and firm, about 16 minutes. Cool completely before removing the side of the pan and filling.
3. Make the filling: using an electric hand or stand mixer, whip the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth; add the sugar, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds and whip until smooth. Transfer to the cooled crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
4. Cut all but one strawberry in half lengthwise. Toss all with the sugar and set aside.
5. Heat the jelly in the microwave (or on the stove in a small pot) until warm and just melted. Stir in the orange juice and whisk until smooth.
6. Place the whole berry in the center of the tart. Lean the halves against the whole, cut side facing in. Continue this way, forming concentric circles, using all the berries. Gently brush with the melted jelly mixture and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Makes 8 servings
* Cut a vanilla bean in across in half. Use the tip of your knife to score a cut lengthwise down the bean, cutting through the top but not bottom layer of the pod. Open the pod like a book, and use the top (not sharp) edge of your knife to scrape out the tiny seeds. You may discard the pod or bury it in sugar to flavor the sugar.