I haven’t really made an attempts to hide that I have found this winter … tiresome? It’s been long, and gloomy, and the kids have been an extreme handful. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, for me, all of a sudden, with an abundance of strawberries. Spring is here, my friends.
Strawberries are such a decisive treat, aren’t they? People either seem to love them or really dislike them. But I think that mainly has to do with where and when you get them. There are some really good strawberries out there. You know, the small, sweet, juicy ones that come available late spring in Canada and are only around for a week or so. The giant hothouse ones you can get year round, not so much. They don’t really taste like much of anything and are kind of mealy. They don’t do much for me at all. People seem often very adamant about how and when strawberries are good.
I met a woman from Scandinavia who informed me that nothing on the planet was as tasty as Norwegian strawberries, which are only available for two weeks out of the year. I expressed my enthusiasm at trying them, and she gave me a disparaging look. “You can’t get them here,” she said. “You have to be in Norway to eat them. There aren’t enough to ship out anywhere.” She seemed offended at the thought of her Norwegian strawberries going anywhere else. Apparently people make pilgrimages to eat these things. I had no idea, but I appreciate learning these things. Maybe one day I too will make a Norwegian strawberry pilgrimage.
Not this year, though. I am happy to track the provenance of my strawberries as they get closer to home, from Spain to France. Maybe soon right from the farms nearby, those will be excellent. But for the moment I’ll be happy to play with what I can get at my local supermarket (okay, it’s actually a supermarket in France, but it’s really close so basically local).
Here are two new recipes I tried lately, both easy, both good.
Handheld Strawberry Pies
This is just a really simple idea. I seem to enjoy all of my food wrapped up in easily-held pastry, so why not pastries? It only makes sense. The original recipe is found at Inspired by Charm, where people actually make their own crust, so check that out if that’s your thing. I of course do it the lazy way and buy my crusts pre-made and pre-rolled, because that’s the only way it will turn out remotely okay.
This ends up being like delicious strawberry jam that oozes out of these yummy crusts. Enjoyed by all.
One pie crust, however you want to come about it
3 cups strawberries, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 200C.
Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla.
Roll out prepared pie dough until 1/8-inch thick. Using a round bowl about 6-inches in diameter, cut out rounds. Form excess dough back into ball, roll it out and cut rounds again Do this until you use as much dough as possible (then take the extra and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, roll it up and bake along with the pie for an extra tasty treat!).
Whisk together egg and water, brushing this along the edges of the dough rounds. Place 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry filling onto one half of the rounds. Fold the other side of the dough to enclose as a half circle. Gently press the edges together to seal with a fork, and pierce the top of each pie. Brush the tops with the egg wash.
You can sprinkle these with sanding sugar because that’s an awesome touch. I didn’t have any, but I don’t think the taste suffered any for it.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the pies are golden brown. Transfer the pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Key Lime Pie Strawberries
These do not look great. If you want to see something that is truly beautiful and sweet, check out the original site where I found this recipe, at Maebells. They are so lovely. I, of course, do not take the time to lovingly pipe out the key lime filling into the strawberries because I do not have time. Once again my main tenant when it comes to eating is that it has to taste good – looking good, not so much.
1 (8 ounce) package of reduced fat cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
Zest and juice from one lime
This is so easy to make. Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lime stuff together and let set in the fridge for a few hours. Then core the strawberries and either pipe the stuffing in, or just use a spoon like me. They are so delicious! But you know what was even better? I used the extra key lime pie filling and mixed in a bunch of chopped strawberries. Even easier, and actually tastier as the key lime to strawberry ratio went up. Not exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but even X ate some strawberries, so that was a win.