Category Archives: strawberries

Strawberry & Thyme Galette with Honey Ricotta (with bonus competition!)

Strawberry Galette

When I was a kid, I managed to convince myself that I was allergic to strawberries. I’m not entirely why I came to this conclusion – I think it was probably due to me becoming violently ill after greedily eating two punnets of the things at once. Either way, I spent a large portion of my teenage years refusing to touch the things for fear of a repeat performance, adding it to the litany of  food items (including bananas and grated cheese) that I developed bizarre phobias of.

Then I entered adulthood and decided to pull myself together. I’m not entirely sure when I decided I liked strawberries again. I just know that I decided to live dangerously and put a dollop of strawberry jam on my toast one morning and became hooked all over again. I love them in jams, I love them in cakes, and I simply adore them smothered in thick clouds of clotted cream. I love how the sweetness of strawberries plays off against so many other different flavours – the tang of vinegar, the sizzle and pop of pepper, and – as I’ve recently discovered – the punchiness of thyme.

This Strawberry & Thyme Galette is the perfect thing to bake if (like me) you still have a minor phobia of making pies containing soft fruits for fear that they will explode all over your oven, leaving you scrubbing bits of burnt on goo off it for the next six months. The dough comes together in minutes, it’s an absolute cinch to roll out and – joy of joys! – there’s no fiddling about with pie tins. Instead, you merely fold a deliciously scented crust over strawberries which have been macerated in lemon juice and a whole lot of zest. I think that the thyme adds a divine slightly savoury note, but if it’s not your bag, just leave it out. It’s the kind of bake which can stand up to a whole lot of fiddling (I’m already contemplating making a version where the strawberries are macerated in ginger cordial.)

The thing which brings it all together though is the honey ricotta. I’ve become slightly addicted to making my own ricotta at the moment (it’s all part of my five year plan to become the kind of woman who can bench press her own body weight and make her own cheese) and making it will make you feel like a super cool urban milkmaid. Something which I personally feel we need more of.

To celebrate the fact that I managed to make a pie and homemade cheese with no major incident, the nice folks at OXO kitchenwear have provided me with a free strawberry kit to give away to one lucky winner. It contains a strawberry huller, a set of berry bowls for all your Summer baking needs, and two punnets of strawberries from Berry World. They’ll also stick you in a prize draw to win a year’s supply of strawberries. Pretty sweet, huh? To enter, just leave a comment below saying what you’d bake with a punnet of strawberries. You’ve got until 15th July to enter, so good luck!

Strawberry Galette with Thyme Crust (Slice and jar)

 

STRAWBERRY & THYME GALETTE WITH HONEY RICOTTA (Serves 6 – 8 people)

Inspired by Food 52

You will need:

For the thyme pastry

  • 300g plain flour (plus extra for rolling)
  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme (add 1/2 tsp more if you are using fresh)
  • 2 tbsps demerara sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50ml ice-cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing the crust

For the strawberry filling

  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 35g demerara sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

For the honey ricotta

  • 2 pints full fat milk
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp good quality honey
  • You will also need a jam thermometer and some cheesecloth for straining (although you could probably use a clean tea towel for this at a pinch)

Make It!

  1. Preheat oven to 200° C/Gas Mark 6
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients. Rub the cubed butter in with your fingers until fully combined, and the butter has broken down into pea-sized pieces. (alternatively, if you have a food processor, just blitz the ingredients in this.) SLOWLY add the ice water until the dough JUST begins to come together. Turn the crust mixture out onto some clingfilm, wrap it up and flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate for 10 minutes while you prepare the strawberries.
  3. Hull and slice the strawberries, before combining them with the sugar, flour and cornflour. Add the juice and zest of the lemon and mix well (you’ll see the strawberries beginning to break down slightly, but they will be OK so long as you use them right away.)
  4. Lay a piece of baking paper which is just large enough to cover a baking sheet onto a flat surface. Remove the chilled dough from your fridge and unwrap it on this. Dust with flour, and roll it out until it is the thickness of your index finger. Spoon the strawberry filling into the centre of the crust, and spread it out, taking care to leave a 2-inch border.
  5. Carefully fold the crust border over the filling (don’t worry about making it look pretty, you want this to look a bit haphazard!) Brush the crust with beaten egg, and sprinkle well with the leftover demerara sugar.
  6. CAREFULLY slide the galette, still on the baking paper, onto your baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool for ten minutes.
  7. While the galette is baking, make your ricotta following this method from The Kitchn. You only need to drain the ricotta for ten minutes, as you want it to be quite soft and fluffy. Once drained, add the honey and leave to one side until the galette is baked.
  8. Once the galette is cool, serve immediately with a large blob of the honey ricotta. Both the ricotta and the galette should keep for around five days.

 

 

 

 

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Strawberry and Black Pepper Jam

I’m sure that you’ll all be thrilled to hear that my jam making obsession continues apace. Indeed, at the rate I’m going, I foresee that every house in Bootle will contain a jar of my jam by the end of June. But hey, if you’ll allow me to blow my own trumpet for a moment (*toot-toot-toot*), this is bloody good jam. So good in fact that when a friend of mine tried it for the first time on Friday, he then proceeded to scoff half a jar of the stuff in a oner. I didn’t know whether to be proud, or fear that he was purposefully trying to give himself Type 2 diabetes.

I made this Strawberry and Black Pepper jam especially for the Northern Quarter Street Party which I attended last Friday in lieu of actually watching the Royal Wedding (hey, why watch the TV coverage when you can just read Twitter instead?) Here’s a pro tip for you readers – when doing a jam making session for the general public, don’t go out to the Darts the night before with your almost husband and get totally smashed on cider. Or, for that matter, wear a billowy full skirted dress which has a horrible habit of blowing up at the slightest puff of wind (apologies to anyone I accidentally flashed my knickers at by the way. Don’t worry, I’m embarassed for you too). I’d like to say that the idea for it came to me in a dream, but instead it was developed after I remembered how well strawberries, balsamic vinegar and black pepper go together, and that they had the potential to make a sensational jam.

Firstly, strawberries are macerated overnight in some lemon juice, sugar and balsamic vinegar until they turn nice and syrupy. Then, they’re cooked down with some black pepper to create something which will make your tongue tingle and your tastebuds pop with joy. The pepper should just add a little bit of a tingle to this jam – it shouldn’t overpower the strawberries, but instead just add another dimension to the sweetness of the final product. I’ve been taking to plopping tablespoons of this stuff on my grilled cheese sandwiches of late. And if you’re thinking that sounds a little out there, all I’d say in response to that is that don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Trust me on this one. I’m a jam maker.

STRAWBERRY AND BLACK PEPPER JAM (Makes roughly two jars)

Strawberry jam recipe adapted from Sophie Grigson

You will need:

  • 500g strawberries
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • The juice and zest of half a lemon
  • Five tablespoons of ground black pepper
  • Four tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of butter

Make It!

  1. The day before you wish to make the jam, top and tail the strawberries, before chopping them in half. Cut off any soft spots or brown spots on them, and discard any berries with bruises, or are turning mushy.
  2. Place the strawberries into a large bowl with 250g of the sugar, two tablespoons of lemon juice and the balsamic vinegar. Turn carefully to mix and coat well, then cover in the fridge overnight to macerate.
  3. The next day, place a saucer into the fridge to chill – you’ll need this when you come to test the setting point of the jam. Pour the strawberries, their juice and any residual sugar juices into a very large pan or preserving pan, remembering that the mixture will rise as it boils. Add the remaining 250g of sugar, the rest of the lemon juice, the butter and the black pepper. Cook the mixture over a medium heat – ut should start to bubble and froth quite vigorously. Skim the froth off the top of the pan with a ladle, and be sure to keep stirring the jam vigorously so it doesn’t stick and burn.
  4. After around twenty five minutes or so, your jam should be starting to set. To test it, place a small amount on the cold plate and leave for thirty seconds. If it crinkles, then it’s done. If the mixture is looking too thin, cook it for another few minutes to obtain a thicker consistency.
  5. Pour the jam into sterilsed jars either via using the ladle, or via (my new favourite piece of equipment) a jam funnel, making sure that you wipe the excess from around the sides. Cover the top with surface of each jar with wax discs to create a tight seal, before screwing the top onto each jar.
  6. Sealed jam should keep for up to a year when stored in a cool and dry place. This jam goes very well on toast, when used in a victoria sponge, or just eaten out of the jar with a large spoon.
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