Happy Mother's Day everyone! I hope all the moms of the world are able to get a well-deserved pat on the back and kiss on the cheek today.
And if you are looking for the perfect easy, simple, lovely, delicious treat to present to mom (or heck, make for yourself) this Fresh Strawberry Tart should do the trick. I've made this dessert a few times since last week and totally fallen in love with it. Terribly easy and it preserves the naturally sweet and pleasing flavor of fresh strawberries - accented with a soft gel-fruit topping and a crisp gluten-free shortbread crust beneath. Recipe and an update on my "kitty-mommying" adventures ahead..
It all started with these beautiful Driscoll's Organic Strawberries..
Cheers To Moms! I give a strawberry toast to all the moms. And yes, that includes moms with all varieties of kids - furry paws included. This past week for me has been quite intense due to the fact that my kitty-mommying skills have been put to the test. Nelly has started her first week of insulin shots - since being diagnosed as diabetic. One shot, twice a day - plus ear pricks for daily blood sugar testing. Tight schedule and it can be quite frightening since you never know how a cat will react to insulin. I had to buy a bottle of Karo corn syrup in case her blood sugar gets suddenly too low and the prescribed saving effort is to syringe corn syrup into her kitty mouth. Scary.
So I've been watching her like a hawk. And have put quite a number of planned activities on hold since her kitty health is number one. Interestingly, feline and canine diabetes is reported to be on the rise - says a new Banfied Survey. Sometimes due to lack of activity and obesity in pets - but that's not Nellys case since she is at a perfect weight for her size. The true cause of type 2 kitty diabetes is really unknown, but it usually comes with age. She is coming on ten this year.
I'll hopefully be doing a full post on the topic of feline diabetes - since it has been such an eye-opening experience. I truly have so much more respect for those with diabetes (humans and pets!)
OK, enough about me, lets get back to this recipe...
Guava-Strawberry. Orange-Strawberry. You'll notice that in the directions, I put "fruit juice" in the topping ingredients - I don't specify the type of fruit juice simply because it is up to you. The first time I made this I used a combo of guava juice and fresh orange juice. Yum on guava-strawberry. Then I did straight up orange juice - also super. You could also use apple juice, white grape juice - even lemonade, passion fruit juice or fresh apple cider. Up to you.
The other option is whether you want your crust crisp like a shortbread cookie - or more soft like a scone. I actually preferred the crisp cookie version - but the soft version was nice too.
Serving NOTE: The fruit topping "gel" will harden up in the fridge when it chills. Just as a pie would. You can serve the tart warm - immediately with the soft topping - or wait until it cools and hardens in the fridge to a gel-like consistency.
Last note: this tart is gluten free since I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Mix. Bob's is a mix of gluten free flours and potato starch - you could sub with your own flour as well.
Fresh Strawberry Tart
vegan, makes two small tarts or one large tart
Crust (crisp version - more like a pie crust - in photos):
1 3/4 cups gluten-free all purpose baking mix
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil - or coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
2-4 Tbsp water
Crust (soft version - more like a soft scone):
1/2 cup applesauce
a few more Tbsp water
2 pints fresh organic strawberries - stems removed
2 cups fruit juice (your choice - I did half guava, half orange)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch or 3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
optional: a few dashes of cayenne to give a slight spicy undertone
optional: 1/8 tsp vanilla extract for a vanilla tone (use depends on what juice flavor you use)
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine all your crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl. The crisp version should turn out like a pie dough consistency - while the soft version will be more watery and require about 8 minutes longer to bake.
3. Spread your crust into your tart pan(s). Bake until the edges toast and the center is cooked gently though. This will vary based on pan size. My small rectangle pans took about 12 minutes for crisp crust and 18 minutes for my softer crust.
4. Remove crusts and set aside.
5. Dissolve the corn starch or arrowroot into your cold juice - in a small soup pot.
6. Place juice pot over medium-high heat and stir until the mixture begins to boil - stir constantly and you will notice the mixture begin to thicken into a gel-like substance. Boil the gel for about a minute - still stirring. Then turn off heat and set topping aside.
7. Prep and wash your berries. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
8. Assembly of tarts. You have two options. Place the berries directly on the crust and them pour the hot topping over top. Or you can toss the berries int he topping and pour them into your crust. If you toss them in the topping they will become a bit softer and less first since the hot topping gently "cooks" them. Either way is delicious though - it just depends how firm you want your berries.
9. Chill tarts or serve immediately (see note above). Serve with vanilla bean coconut ice cream, soy whipped cream or even a dash of powdered sugar - or sprig of fresh mint. Enjoy!