Here’s the thing with Vancouver: it rains… almost all the time. They never show you that in the tourism brochures. But trust me, that’s the reality.
But then, then one day, the clouds part and we get glorious sunshine streaming down on everything. And it’s green (from all that rain) and fresh and smells like the ocean. The sun sparkles off of all the glass that the city is made of – and we totally forget that it ever rained, ever.
We rush outside to soak it all in and pat ourselves on the back for living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
And then a week later it starts to rain again and we all go back to trying to decide if we should go to Hawaii, California, Las Vegas or Mexico (or all 4) just to get some vitamin D.
A few weeks back, after a string of rainy days, we had one really pretty one. One where I dared to put on a tank top and a pair of shorts and freak the world out with my pasty white skin. Me and the lovely Blondie decided to make use of it and headed out to Abbotsford to Krause Berry Farms to pick strawberries.
Strawberries are available year round here but for about 10 months of the year they’re California berries. Red on the outside and white on the inside and not terribly sweet. And then for two wonderful months we get local berries – big, plump, crimson berries all the way through, sweet and juicy. It’s like the two kinds are entirely different species!
Blondie and I both picked our two baskets full and then headed home but first, we made a pit stop in Fort Langley for lunch at Beatniks Bistro – which was delish – totally recommend if you’re in the Fort (and they have a very pretty patio). After that I dragged Blondie into the massive antique collective down the road looking for fun food props. I found them in bucketloads but, they all had antique store prices – too much for my thrift store blood! They do have a cute blog though.
The best part though, was getting back into the car and the smell of sun warmed strawberries being everywhere.
I decided to freeze about half for winter baking and then I tried roasting a batch (with absolutely disastrous results – straight into the garbage after one bite) and I made strawberry sauce which also had some issues but was at least tasty and edible. But I was feeling a big glum with these failures so I thought I’d try a tart.
It was an experiment that was very tasty but a bit messy. I used a honey goat cheese that I bought by accident but it was really delicious with the berries.
Oh, and by the way, the day after we picked the berries it started raining again for another week and a half. Told ya. (although, it has been brilliantly gorgeous out this week!)
***warning! this was an experiment and needs some tweaking. Recreate at your own risk!
This tart was very tasty but very juicy. It needs to be eaten quickly because it gets quite soggy if you leave it overnight. Perhaps a little flour added to the fruit would help with that.
- 1 package of puff pastry thawed
- ½ cup of crumbled goat cheese
- 2½ cups of thickly sliced strawberries
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (divided)
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a 12x14 inch rectangle (or to fit your baking tray). Trim the edges if you like or leave them as is for a more rustic look
- Place the pasty on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a sharp paring knife to score the dough to form a one inch border. Use a fork to prick the dough inside the border every ½ inch.
- You can refrigerate the dough at this point to firm it up (ten minutes will do)
- Bake chilled dough for 10-15 mins until puffed and golden brown
- While the pastry cooks, toss sliced strawberries with the salt, balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsps of maple syrup
- Remove baked pastry from the oven and press the dough inside the border to make it level (it will be very poofy)
- You could, at this point, try to spread a layer of goat cheese on the pastry but I found the cheese wasn't soft enough to do this without wrecking the pastry
- Arrange the fruit on the crust - I just pour it in and spread it to make a nice even layer but you can be more methodical if you like.
- Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over the fruit
- Bake, loosely tented with foil, until fruit and cheese soften and juices start to bubble - anywhere between 10 and 15 mins
- Remove foil and brush the tart edges with remaining maple syrup and let bake a few more minutes uncovered until syrup starts to carmelize (be careful not to let it burn!)
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes so the strawberries and juices thicken up and set. Slice into pieces and serve!