Don’t you just love it when the stars align and a dish just seems meant to be?  Take this strawberry cream cheese tart, for example.  The first sign – we received two pounds of beautiful organic strawberries in our produce bin.  One pound is game for just being eaten straight in our house, but a second pound begs to be made into some wonderful dessert.  Second – my best friend Amanda and her husband were coming over for dinner, and this dessert happens to be one of her favorites.  Third, this tart is an old recipe from my early days of blogging that deserved some tweaking as well as an updated photo.

I swapped out the original tart dough for this version from Baking Illustrated, which has become my go-to recipe.  It is buttery and tender, and perfectly compliments whatever fillings you choose to top it with.  It is rare for the crust to be the star of a tart or pie, but the last time I made this fruit tart, it was the crust everyone was raving about the most.  The original version called for a layer of plain melted chocolate in the bottom of the tart crust.  While tasty, the hardened chocolate made for extremely awkward slicing and even more awkward eating.  This time around I replaced the chocolate layer with dark chocolate ganache which was much easier to cut and to eat.  So here you go – an old favorite made even better.  Enjoy!

  • Yield about 8 servings


For the crust:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. heavy cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

For the ganache:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk or cream

For topping:
Fresh strawberries, sliced (approximately 12 oz.)
Melted bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, for drizzling (optional)


  • 01

    To make the tart shell, whisk together the egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside.  Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Process briefly to combine.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.  With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.  Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

  • 02

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  (If refrigerated for more than an hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)  Unwrap and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round.  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan.  Mold the dough to the sides of the tart pan and remove the excess off the top.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.

  • 03

    Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to middle position.  Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • 04

    To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit 1-2 minutes to melt the chocolate.  Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms.  If there are still bits of unmelted chocolate, microwave in 10 second intervals, whisking in between, until the ganache is completely smooth.  Whisk in the butter.  Spread the ganache in a thin even layer over the bottom of the cooled tart shell.  Allow the ganache to set before proceeding.

  • 05

    To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl on medium-high speed until smooth.  Blend in the vanilla and milk or cream.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled ganache in the tart shell.  Starting from the outside and working toward the center, place the sliced strawberries in concentric circles slightly overlapping each other.  Gently press the berries into the cream cheese mixture to help keep them in place.  Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.  Chill until ready to serve.