Do: Strawberries, Jam and Tarts

strawberry season It’s that time of year again. So far we have had a traditional rainy Glastonbury, the heatwave we all hoped for (yet in reality, perhaps not so much fun?!) Sunburn, Wimbledon, and of course, the arrival of the celebrated English strawberry. Now available at a farm shop near you by the punnet load. This is British Summertime. B, C and myself headed out on a sunny Monday morning to Whetstone Pastures for a pick your own stint. A little local knowledge for the people of Leicestershire, Whetstone pastures is closed on Mondays. This is clearly stated in the small print on the website, yet all three of us failed to pick up on it. No to be perturbed we headed to the nearest farm shop, saved ourselves a few hours picking and headed on to play crazy golf in the sunshine. (I Won!) Yes, I forgot my suncream. yes, I got sunburnt. Armed with several punnets of English strawberries and for me a winners glow (Quite literally) we went our separate ways, each with a few ideas of what to do with our strawberry hoard. Have you ever eaten a strawberry in winter and been left with an underlying feeling of utter ‘meh’ disappointment? The reason behind this is simple. Apart from the summer months our strawberries are imported from far reaching continents with warmer climes. Warmer climates mean fast ripening strawbs, fast ripening strawbs means the flavour of our treasured fruit doesn’t quite ripen at the same pace. Therefore the strawbs are lack lustre and a little bland. One thing that our delightfully unpredictable summer months are perfect for is slow ripening strawberries. A little rain, a little wind, possible blizzards and perhaps a little sunshine means only one thing. No one does Strawberries like British summertime. No one. Of course it makes perfect sense why we love them so, but really, don’t buy them out of season. Seriously, don’t even sniff them. No! So, whether scones and clotted cream are your poison, jam tarts, or maybe you’re planning an afternoon tea party in celebration of Wimbledon, here are a couple of ideas for hoarding strawberries over the coming months and even take these very English summertime fruits into winter also….. English strawberries To make  Strawberry, Black pepper and balsamic jam you will need:

  • 3 250ml- 300ml capacity jam jars and lids800g of strawberries
  • 400g jam sugar
  • 30ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1tsp black pepper

Place the strawberries and sugar into a heavy based sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil. Heat gently at boiling point for around 25-30 minutes until the jam reaches a temperature of 104°C. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the jam as it comes up to temperature. Thoroughly wash the jars and their lids in hot soapy water. Rinse clean and place the jars on a baking tray then transfer the tray into an oven pre-heated to 180°C for 5-10 minutes. Once the jam is heated to setting temperature, add the balsamic and black pepper, stir well to combine. Decant the jam into the measuring jug and pour straight into the prepared jars while they are still hot. Place a silicone paper circle onto the top of the jam to create a seal and then screw the lid tightly onto the jam jar. DSC02394 To make Strawberry jam tarts you will need:

  • 60g butter
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1/2 a jar of Strawberry jam

Using a handheld mixer or Kitchen aid with beater attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and blend to a smooth light batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl during mixing if necessary. Add the flour and mix until the pastry comes together to form a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 25-30 minutes to relax. jam tarts pre-oven Pre-heat oven to 160°C and roll the dough to a thickness of around 3mm. Cut out discs of the pastry and place into a muffin tray. fill each tart with jam, about half full- the jam will bubble up on baking. Use the remaining pastry to make decorations for the tarts, this can be anything you like, lattice, shapes, letters, get creative! tarts in the oven Bake the tarts for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown, allow to cool and serve. strawberry jam tarts

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4 thoughts on “Do: Strawberries, Jam and Tarts

  1. Laura says:

    Ooh those jam tarts look amazing!

    I have some strawberries in the fridge ready to pop in a nice glass of Pimms :-) x

    • makedospend says:

      Ahhh Pimms! Another of my favourite summertime weekend treats! You have reminded me, i need to stock up on it! x

  2. Ruth C says:

    Strawberries and crazy golf – sounds like a fantastic day! I’ve never made jam but this recipe looks simple enough that I might be able to manage it – I love the addition of pepper and balsamic too – will defo be giving it a go!

    • makedospend says:

      It was a splendid day, apart from the sunburn!
      I love making jam, its so easy and I definitely recommend giving it a try. I recommend investing in a jam thermometer also. The jam will last a good 10 months too so good for getting ahead on Christmas presses too!

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