Roberta DesBouillons
Special to The Union

Savoring season’s sweet strawberries

Dear Roberta: I have a prolific strawberry patch in my garden and aside from freezing them and making jam I am hoping that you can share some of your favorite recipes with me.

Lucky you! I love fresh strawberries and look forward to this time of year very much.

When purchasing them I am very careful to buy organic only. Here are a few from my repertoire:

Strawberry Shortcake

1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) fresh strawberries

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Make the sweetened strawberries: hull and quarter strawberries, toss in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup sugar.

Let stand until syrupy, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes (and up to one day, covered and refrigerated).

In a food processor, combine flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Process until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add milk; pulse just until moistened, 4 or 5 times.

Do not over process.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hands, gently pat dough into a 4-by-8-inch rectangle.

Dust a large knife with flour; cut dough into 8 squares.

Transfer to a baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool on baking sheet.

To serve, split biscuits with a serrated knife; layer with berries and whipped cream.

Strawberry Pistachio Tart

All-purpose flour, for rolling

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/2 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios (In place of the pistachios, you could use an equal amount of raw almonds.)

2 tablespoons sugar

5 cups thinly sliced strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out puff pastry to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle.

Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and trim to make a neat rectangle.

Freeze until firm, 10 minutes. With a fork, prick pastry all over.

To prevent pastry from rising, top with a sheet of parchment paper and stack another rimmed baking sheet on top. Bake until light golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine 1/4 cup pistachios and sugar and process until pistachios are finely ground.

Sprinkle mixture on pastry, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Bake until pastry is deep golden and pistachio mixture begins to turn golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Roughly chop remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Remove sheet from oven; arrange strawberries on pistachio mixture, overlapping slices.

Brush berries and border with jam and sprinkle chopped pistachios on border. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roberta DesBouillons is the in-house chef at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and used to own/operate Apron Strings Cooking School in San Francisco. Email questions to roberta.tesskitchen@gmail.com.


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The Union Updated Apr 15, 2014 11:02PM Published Apr 15, 2014 11:02PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.