Weather: 34 degrees, 10 p.m. sunset What I’m listening to: the whir of the washing machine and the hum of the dryer
Beatrice Peltre from La Tartine Gourmande says in her cookbook, “A meal without dessert is like wearing only one shoe.” Ah, indeed. I couldn’t agree more. I have a very predictable sweet tooth. It shows up every evening at right about the same time, as I’m clearing the dinner dishes from the table. Dinner is over; time for something sweet, my sweet tooth tells me. It doesn’t have to be much, just a little morsel of dessert, a nibble. My kids happen to have the exact same sweet tooth. I’m thinking these sorts of things must be genetic or something.
To put my sweet tooth to bed, one delightful little wedge of this tart will do. I made a flaky butter crust, a lightly-sweetened honey and vanilla bean cream cheese, and topped it with halved ripe strawberries glazed with more glossy honey. It’s impressive to look at, but rather simple to put together. This tart just screams spring.
A simple springtime dessert with a flaky butter crust, lightly-sweetened cream cheese filling, and honey glazed strawberries. Crust adapted from David Lebovitz via 84th and 3rd; filling adapted from Tutti Dolci.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom standing by.
To a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the flour to the hot butter mixture, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Turn the dough out into the tart pan and press the dough across the bottom and part-way up the sides of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork all over and refrigerate 5 minutes to firm up. Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Place pan on a cooling rack to cool.
To Make the Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the milk, vanilla, honey, powdered sugar, and lemon zest and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread the cream cheese mixture into the cooled tart shell using an off-set spatula.
Arrange the strawberries in a circular design on top of the cream cheese mixture, pressing them down just slightly. Warm the honey in a microwave or in a small saucepan until just thin enough to brush. Brush the strawberries with the warm honey. Chill the tart in the refrigerator for at least an hour before slicing and serving.
A note about the crust: this crust is adapted from David Lebovitz's French Tart Dough recipe, which requires the butter mixture to be heated in an oven-proof bowl in the oven before adding the flour. Because I did not have a proper bowl to attempt this method, I heated the mixture on the stove instead and achieved beautiful results - a flaky, buttery, firm tart crust. If you have an oven-proof bowl, by all means, try David's method instead.