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Summertime Strawberries!

Posted by Gregory Luna on June 23, 2013 1 Comment

Yesterday a friend of mine and I went to a farm north of Des Moines where you can pick your own produce.  It was the first day of their strawberry picking season (which is short) and it was packed with people getting fresh berries right from the plant.  Neither of us had done something like this since we were kids and we ended up having a great time.  The farm is only about 30 minutes away and in 45 short minutes of picking, I had nearly 9 pounds of strawberries!  In a way it seems ridiculous to pick so many but they were cheap ($2/pound) and delicious.

I have a small strawberry patch of my own but I have not yet been able to harvest any of the fruits of my own labor because of a small creature called the chipmunk (known in my part of the world as the "squinnie").  I've taken some control measures so I might actually get to try my raspberries since my strawberries were a loss. 

Since it's rainy (again) in Central Iowa again today, it only made sense that I do some baking.  Today's recipe is something I saw on the Better Homes and Gardens Facebook page.  Here's the link: Hand Tarts.  I've seen several recipes like this in other publications since I first noticed this one so I'm thinking hand tarts are trendy right now.  It's fitting because I'm always up on the latest trends......I hope you pick up on my sarcasm there.  I have to say, this recipe wasn't hard to execute but I have things about it I would change and I mention them toward the end of this post.  Bon Appetit has a recipe for blueberry hand tarts that I'm going to try next time.  The pick your own farm has blueberries available in July- a perfect excuse for another trip!

This recipe calls for rhubarb and apples but I modified it, with Greg's input, to feature rhubarb and strawberries.  Luckily, I don't know of anything that eats rhubarb so I was able to harvest stalks from my own patch.  FYI- that gnome has done nothing to assist in pest control.  What a freeloader.  

Greg advised me to swap strawberries for equal amounts of the other fruit in the recipe.  I used one less cup of rhubarb and switched the apples for strawberries. 

Following the instructions, I placed the sugar, tapioca, ginger, and nutmeg in a saucepan and mixed the fruit in.  I let it sit for a few minutes to start creating a sauce, which didn't take long.

                    

With the addition of the strawberries, the sauce wasn't thickening like it should have.  Greg suggested I add cornstarch which solved the thickening issue.  Next, I let the mixture cool while I made the dough.  At first I thought the dough seemed like something I could easily mess up but it came together nicely.  Using the 1/8" DoStix, I rolled it out to get a nice, thin crust.  I haven't used this size yet so it was good to put them to work!  

                    

At this the point in the process things got...well, annoying.  The dough was easy to work with, and I was thankful for that, but when it came to filling the tarts it wasn't going smoothly.  I folded them into rectangles, as per the instructions, but filling kept squeezing out and I had a hard time sealing them up.  You'll notice there are no pictures of this step- I'm not in the mood to embarrass myself today with my tart styling.  Then I realized in the picture that accompanies the recipe, the tarts are triangle, not rectangle.  Once I started doing that, it was so much easier.  This is the finished product:

Filling belched out of each one but it wasn't the end of the world.  It smelled and tasted great so I consider the day to be a success.  I'm not opposed to using this recipe again but here's what I would change:

Either make 1/2 the amount of filling or twice the dough because I had about 3 extra cups of filling.  I'm leaning toward twice the dough because if you're going to take the time to do this, you should have more tarts at the end of your labors.

Make them all triangle shaped- ignore the mention of rectangles in the recipe.

Add a splash of lemon or something similar to give it just a bit more zip.

Having so much leftover filling did give me the opportunity to put one of my lesser known talents to good use.  I have an eye for choosing the exact right size of storage container for leftover food.  I wish I could make a living that paid me millions of dollars for this talent but I guess I'll have to settle for the satisfaction of not wasting refrigerator space on inappropriately housed leftovers.

Now that is satisfying:  

Comments (1 Comment)

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