As the daughter of a wholesale banana purveyor, our home was always overflowing with fruit. And I’m not talking a plum here, or a cherry there – fruit was always brought home in trays or crates, the surplus of which was shared with family, friends and neighbours. However, when I think back to my fruit-astic childhood diet, I don’t recall eating a lot of strawberries. I guess back in those days, we truly did eat seasonally and produce was usually only available during the season in which they are grown.
My strawberry epiphany came years later, while my husband and I were living in London. Summer in London is really synonymous with park-life, bright nights, Pimm’s & Lemonade, Wimbledon and, of course, strawberries and cream. At Portobello Markets in our neighbourhood of Notting Hill, we picked up small yet robustly flavoured wild varieties which tasted like actual strawberries. But the strawberries that really blew my mind were the Jubilee Strawberries, most often found at Marks & Spencers of all places! Rightly named, these strawberries were sweeter, plumper and fleshier than any other I had ever tasted and have tasted since. These regal berries still hold a very special spot in my culinary memory bank.
In New York, there always seems to be strawberries around. But lately, as the locally grown varieties come into season, the city is bursting with berry goodness. Last week, I picked up a few punnets from my local greenmarket and was inspired to throw together this quintessential Summer tart, laden with not only strawberries, but brightened up with a few hits of balsamic vinegar, honey and lashes of mint. The strawberry-balsamic-honey-mint combination is a total winner and I even encourage you to make extra of this strawberry mixture as it is mind-bogglingly delicious simply served with vanilla bean ice cream or whipped mascarpone. Seriously, I’m drooling just writing about it!
This recipe uses the same ‘best pie crust ever’ recipe which I featured a few weeks back with my Salted Caramel Apple Galette, but you can also use a store-bought pie crust (shortcrust pastry).
Honey Balsamic Strawberry and Mint Galettes
Who would have thought that balsamic + honey + mint + strawberries would equate to such goodness? This is a surprising, addictive seasonal tart. You could also substitute the strawberries for fresh blackberries.
This quantity of pie pastry is enough to make a traditional 9inch/22cm double crust apple pie. Just halve the pastry before you chill it – roll out one half for the bottom of the pie, then use the other half for the pie top.
Makes 6 individual tarts
Pie crust (or use store-bought shortcrust pastry/pie crust)
- 2 cups plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 12 tbsp/175g cold unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup cold milk, plus extra for glazing pastry
Honey Balsamic Strawberries
- 454g/1 lb fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)
- 6 large mint leaves, finely sliced
In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and cold butter. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour, until you get pea-size pieces. You don’t need to work it too much at this point. If you still see little blobs of butter, that is fine – it will all add to the melt-in-your-mouth pastry. Add the cold milk, and mix until a dough forms. Do not over mix. The less you work the dough at this point, the flakier (or to use the pastry term short) your dough will be. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator (or even overnight!).
Note: Keeping your pastry as cold as possible means that the fat won’t melt before baking. When the lumps of fat melt in the oven as the pastry bakes, it results in lots of flaky layers and extra deliciousness!
Honey Balsamic Strawberries
Slice strawberries, toss in bowl with balsamic vinegar & honey. Let sit for 30 minutes or more, up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Assembling the galette
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
Flour your surface and roll out your cold pastry until it is about 3mm thick. Using a plate or bowl, carefully cut out 6 rounds – my pastry rounds measured 6.5in/16cm each. Transfer the pastry rounds onto a baking tray lined with parchment/baking paper. Spoon some of the strawberries into the middle of each round, leaving a 1-inch/2.5cm border around the outside. Fold the pastry over the berries, pleating to hold the fruit in. Brush the pastry with milk, and sprinkle the brown sugar all over each tart. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until it is golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each galette with mint.
Serve with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream!