I almost didn’t get this post up due to some kind of abrasion directly on the front of my eye. Just this morning I could barely open said eye and when I did most everything through it was one blurry blob-ish mess. But that’s, thankfully, getting better after an emergency trip to the eye doctor and we can now tell all you fabulous people how lovely a dessert this is.
I’ve really been craving a freshly-made cheesecake lately but I’m not too willing to heat up the oven for one let alone wait for all that time it would need to cool and chill. While this recipe doesn’t have that same baked texture – cuz it ain’t baked (well, some of it is) – it does have a lovely creamy texture.
The only part that’s baked in this recipe is the homemade chocolate almond crust. Just mix up those crust ingredients and press and press and press it into your tart pan. It didn’t take long for us to realize that, uh – oops – our tart pan was one inch bigger than required and yes that made a big difference. We just mixed up a teensy bit more of the crust ingredients minus the almonds that time and it worked fine.
Once your tart crust has cooled, which took about thirty minutes for us on a wire rack, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly into it.
The recipe’s next step was to place the berry halves on but we thought it might be a little too…giving. We didn’t want the berries to just slide down into that loose filling so we refrigerated the tart first and then placed the berries on.
At this point you’re supposed to drizzle on some store-bought hot fudge topping. This went about as well for us as a snake in a hen house. I heated our so-called hot fudge twice and it never would get to the right consistency to drizzle. Instead it came out of that bottle in a big fat…piece. I was so disappointed. I should’ve put it in a ziplock bag, snipped off a corner and tried it that way, but at least now the lesson is learned. We just plopped some more chocolate on and kind of spread it around with a knife.
Honestly, I’m just using friggin’ Hershey’s syrup next time. If you refrigerate it, it’s actually the perfect consistency for drizzling, as any self-respecting ice cream lover knows.
For all the richness of cream cheese, this is a pretty light-tasting dessert. It’s the perfect time of year to grab some fresh strawberries (and if you can get ’em from an actual strawberry farm, it’s utterly worth it) and enjoy them on something like this. Probably the only thing I’d do differently next time is cook some of the extra berries down with a small bit of sugar to make a strawberry sauce to go with it. Other than that, this is a fun, easy and relatively fast way to take care of a cheesecake-esque craving without going through nearly the amount of work. Enjoy!
Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart
from Taste of Home
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Chill time: 1 hour Level: Intermediate Serves: 12
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
For the filling:
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups halved fresh strawberries
- 3 tablespoons hot fudge ice cream topping
Preheat oven to 375 °. In a small bowl, combine first five ingredients; press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is set. Cool on a wire rack.
In another small bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over bottom of prepared crust. Arrange strawberry halves, cut side down, over filling. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Just before serving, drizzle fudge topping over tart. Refrigerate leftovers.
Of course, we could have taken the hot fudge out of its microwaveable bottle and heated it in a bowl, but I didn’t think of that until too late.
The crust ingredients were a little hard to press perfectly into that tart pan, but just keep at it and give your hands a rest if needed.
When removing the tart from the pan, gently press up on the bottom panel with your fingertips as far to the outside of the tart as possible. If it doesn’t want to easily give (ours definitely didn’t want to), just keep gently pressing up until it loosens. BE prepared for it to suddenly give.