One little strawberry plant is a family of three this year. It’s not much but it is a pretty nice beginning. When they started flowering with little white petals and a sun-kissed centre we couldn’t have been happier. “We” would be my Little Bunny Saira and myself. When I showed her the flowers she wanted to pick them, of course. I then explained how the flowers need to stay so they can become fruit – she didn’t quite understand so we settled with picking a daisy instead.
A few days later while playing in the garden I called her in to show the little green baby strawberries. She wanted to pick the strawberries right away and eat them – another teachable moment ended up with tears. I gave her gummy bears from the pantry instead. And then I waited for the strawberries to grow and turn scarlet. Did I go see them twice a day? I did, like a child myself. Slugs are cunning and uncivilized but sometimes even they miss out on the lottery.
So this year we beat the garden slugs and Saira Bunny and got a few strawberries. Only a few, but just enough to make us perfectly happy and just enough to top some cream-filled almond tartlets. And since a bottle of vanilla and coconut sugar was at hand, some of it got sprinkled too … but really, nothing beats the fresh taste of home-grown strawberries, fancy sugar or not!
Almond Tart Shells
- Almond Meal: 1/4 cup
- Flour: 1 cup
- Sugar: 1/4 cup
- Unsalted Butter: 1/2 cup
- Salt: 1/8 tsp
- Baking Powder: 1/4 tsp
- Cold Water: 3 tbsp or more
- Vanilla Essence: 2 tsp
- In a food processor add the almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt and mix.
- Add the cold butter and process till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the vanilla and the cold water and mix till the dough forms. Don’t over mix.
- Take out of processor and form a ball. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or until completely cooled.
- Once dough is cooled roll out into about 3/8 inch thick.
- To make small tart shells, cut out enough the rolled out dough and place ten into tart shells.
- Use a fork to prick bottoms, then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
- Line a baking tray, arrange your tart shells and bake for 15-18 minutes or until they are slightly browned.
- Let cool completely before filling.
- Beat half cup of whipping cream with 1 Tbsp of caster sugar into soft peaks.
- Put a dollop of Chantilly cream on the cooled tart shells, arrange whole or diced strawberries on top and sprinkle with a little vanilla coconut sugar(optional) before serving.