Ever since I was born I got used to eating strawberries only during spring and only for some weeks. I know that there are shops, where you can find strawberries all year round, but what can I do if I believe in following the seasons, and if I enjoy the craving and waiting for the delicious bites and even the meticulous preparation of recipes. In May and June we were still in Hungary and the season brought its usual sweet strawberries. However due to the preparation of our wedding, then our move to Australia we could not devote enough attention to them. Maybe that is why we got a second chance in Queensland, where for many weeks now we are enjoying spring and the strawberry season, which lasts much longer than in Hungary. At the moment we are right in the middle of the 3-4 months period. Of course even the Australian supermarkets offer strawberries all year round, but then what would happen to the above mentioned seasonality, and all the craving and the waiting?
The bottom line is: the strawberry season calls for feasting! The first recipe with strawberries (I am assuming that there will be more coming) cannot be anything else but our biggest favourite. André simply calls it the Eight sin. Not because it is so unhealthy, rather due to the fact that once he starts eating from it he is hardly able to stop. I like it because even though it is quick and easy, it serves as a great and beautiful treat for guests, but if there is any extra left (not very common I must say) it is the perfect companion to go with your morning coffee. Its base is a bit crunchy (biscuit-like), which is balanced out by the juiciness of the little strawberry bites of the topping.
I found this gluten-free recipe in a Jamie Oliver magazine (it was a baking issue, but I cannot remember when). Instead of the suggested pistachios several times I used almond flakes, which was also a delicious combination. However I have to admit that I always leave the rosewater out. I baked this tart couple of days ago when we had some special guests over – soon you can read an interview with them on the blog. But the rest should be a surprise! Let’s talk about the recipe instead:
Ingredients: (serves 8-12)
Base: 140 g, melted, plus extra to grease • 170 g spelt flour • 50 g unsweetened desiccated coconut • 100 g sugar • 50 g pistachios, crushed
Macaroon filling: 140 g unsweetened desiccated coconut • 70 g sugar • 4 egg whites • 1 tsp rosewater • 450 g small strawberries, halved
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 31cm x 21 cm loose-based tart tin. If you do not have one, similarly to me, you can just go for a round (24 cm) tin, it will also do the job perfectly. First prepare the base. Combine the flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix until you have a crumble-like dough. Press the mixture into the tin, and work all around the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the macaroon filling. Put the desiccated coconut in a bowl with the sugar, egg whites and rosewater and beat well.
Scatter most of the strawberries across the cooked tart base. Drop dollops of macaroon topping over the strawberries and press around them, leave some of the strawberries peeping out. Bake the tart for about 20 min. You know that it is ready when the macaroon filling gets a golden colour. You can sprinkle the pistachios just before serving, or if you want to get a bit of a roasted taste before the baking.
* baking time: 15 + 20 minutes • temperature: 180ºC • preparation time: 60 minutes
What is your favourite recipe with strawberries?