Tangy goat cheese whipped with cream cheese and honey, baked into a rich base for balsamic strawberries and basil, and then served with crunchy toasted French bread for dunking. You can't help but swoon over that.
Why this recipe works:
- Balsamic vinegar enhances and balances the sweetness of the strawberries.
- Whipping the cheeses and honey in the food processor keeps the dip from becoming dense and heavy when baked.
Notes: Cheap balsamic vinegar works just fine here, so there is no need to splurge. As the vinegar is reduced, it takes on the taste and texture of higher-quality products.
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and greasing
- 14 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (see note)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and diced
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, and honey in a food processor and process until fluffy and smooth. Grease a small (1 quart) baking dish with olive oil and scrape in goat cheese mixture. Using a spoon, smooth goat cheese into an even layer; then use the spoon to create a slight indentation in the center that rises evenly towards the edges (this will help cradle the strawberries later).
In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vinegar is slightly syrupy and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Place goat cheese dip in the oven and bake until lightly browned on top, 10-12 minutes.
Stir together strawberries, basil, and balsamic reduction in a small bowl. Spoon berries and any juices on top of the baked goat cheese dip and serve warm with the toasted baguette slices.
Food processor, small (1-quart) baking dish