Cookie Dough Tart Crust:
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Almond Crumb Topping:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
1. Make the Tart Crust: Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain (about 10 pulses). Add the yolks and vanilla and continue pulsing until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, shape into a thick disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften at a cool room temperature for about 20 minutes, just until it is soft enough to roll without cracking, but still firm. Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Flour the work surface and the dough and gently roll the dough into a 13-inch disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed. Transfer it to a 10-inch tart pan. Evenly fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against both the bottom and side of the pan. Trim away any excess dough at the rim of the pan by rolling over with a rolling pin or scraping it away with the back of a paring knife. Slide the tart pan onto a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.
3. When ready to bake, arrange the racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
4. Make the Crumb Topping: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the chopped almonds. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the butter until all of the dry ingredients have been evenly moistened. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, then use your fingertips to break the mixture into ¼- to ½-inch crumbs. Scatter the crumbs on the prepared pan.
5. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator, and remove the plastic wrap. Line with a piece of parchment paper and fill the pan with pie weights. Bake the tart crust in the lower third of the oven and the crumb topping in the upper third. After 10 minutes, remove the paper and pie weights from the tart shell and place it on the upper rack, and move the crumbs to the lower rack. Continue baking the tart shell until it is dry and light golden, 15 to 20 additional minutes. Bake the crumb topping until it is deep golden and firm, 10 to 15 additional minutes. (Check the crumbs around the 10 minute mark and then go from there - my crumbs were done around 10 minutes, and the tart crust around 20 minutes.) Cool the crust and the topping on wire racks.
6. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed just until it is smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
7. Assemble the Tart: Spread half the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the sliced strawberries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the strawberries. Evenly scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, lightly dust the topping with powdered sugar and garnish with additional strawberries, if desired. Unmold the tart from the pan and place it on a platter. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers.
Note #1: You can omit the nuts in both the crust and the crumb topping. No need to substitute anything else.
Note #2: You should assemble the tart within a few hours of serving it, as the crust will soften after it has been refrigerated.