As I write this, it feels as though Spring has officially arrived! The backstreets near my house smell of jasmine, there are more blue-skied days than grey and the windows have all been flung open. It’s safe to say that this time of year makes most people feel slightly more chipper too, and you can sense it. It also brings anticipation of what’s to come – mangoes eaten over the kitchen sink, outside gatherings and lazy afternoons.
Spring also happens to be the perfect time to enjoy strawberries, and they are the very first fruit which signals the warmer weather to come. A galette, or crostata, is basically speaking, a rustic open tart and is a wonderful alternative to a pie which often requires a little extra effort and skill. The more homemade looking it is, the better. I am a firm believer that you don’t want anything to appear so perfect that people think you’ve bought it. The pastry is so flaky and really simple to make too. If you’ve never embarked on pastry making before, I urge you to try it! Just be sure your water is icy and the butter very cold. When incorporating the water, don’t overwork the pastry dough either – you want to handle the dough as little as possible to ensure the pastry is flaky and light.
You can use a variety of other fruits here in lieu of the strawberries– blueberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches and rhubarb all work very well, which means you can enjoy well into summer as new season fruits emerge. Just be sure to adjust the sweetness depending on what you choose. A more tart fruit like rhubarb will most likely need a little extra sugar. Try different flavourings too – vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon zest work wonderfully with certain fruits. This tart can be assembled the day before and kept in the fridge – all you need to do is brush with cream and scatter over the sugar before baking.
Freshly chopped strawberries ready for baking. Photo – Eve Wilson.
Fresh strawberries are back in season! Photo – Eve Wilson.
Julia folding over the pastry. Photo – Eve Wilson.
Spooning the strawberries into the pastry. Photo – Eve Wilson.
I am a firm believer that you don’t want anything to appear so perfect that people think you’ve bought it. Photo – Eve Wilson.
Julia at home in her Brunswick kitchen. Photo – Eve Wilson.