I don't usually buy strawberries this early in the year because even when they look gorgeous, the taste is often hugely disappointing. I've been eating granola and yogurt for breakfast though, and I was desperate for some fruit to mix in, preferably berries. Aside from the strawberries, the blackberries were the only thing that looked good at the store. Unfortunately, I really don't like blackberries and I knew I'd probably regret buying them (because then I'd have to eat them :) ) so I took a chance on the strawberries.
And you know what? They were surprisingly good! In fact, I ended up buying them 2 or 3 weeks in a row. But then my fruit and yogurt ran into some breakfast competition, and the strawberries sat untouched in the fridge. I kind of forgot about them to be honest. When I found them, they were still good, but just barely, so I decided to repurpose them into a baking project. It wasn't difficult to decide what to make - I've been eagerly awaiting strawberry season ever since I bookmarked this strawberry cream cheese crumble tart. It was finally time to give it a shot!
Since my pictures basically make the tart look like a big mountain of crumble topping (not necessarily a bad thing, who doesn't love crumb topping?), let me tell you what else is going on here. The base of the tart is a sugar cookie-like crust with some ground almonds mixed in for texture and flavor. The filling consists of the completely irresistible combination of sweetened cream cheese and juicy strawberries. It's sort of cheesecake-like in flavor, but way easier since it's no bake. And of course it's finished with the almond crumb topping, and lots of it. You can spread the components out over the course of a day (or even a few days) and assemble when you're ready to serve, making this a cinch to whip up.
It's a little bit tricky to cut the perfect slice (the mountain of crumble sort of has a mind of its own...) but you won't care once you try a bite. The crisp crust and buttery crumb topping are the perfect contrast to the juicy berries and fluffy cream cheese filling. I sent most of the tart to work with my mom and it drew rave reviews there too. And while it's good for dessert, I liked it even better for breakfast :)
You can find the recipe on Nick Malgieri's blog here. His instructions are thorough and detailed - I'm pretty sure I couldn't do much better, so I'm not going to retype them here (plus the photo over there is gorgeous, if mine don't convince you to try this, his will!). The only changes I made were to use slightly fewer strawberries - probably closer to 3/4 lb, and, if you can believe it, I didn't use all of the crumb topping. Also, he notes that it's best to assemble this as close to serving as possible as the crust softens after being refrigerated. I didn't notice a huge difference in texture after mine sat in the fridge overnight so you can definitely assemble in advance at least one day.