Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Strawberry Season!

It's Strawberry time here in Pennsyltucky, and I am in ecstasy. Yes. Really. Honestly, if you don't have any where to get fresh strawberries where you are, move. No, I'm not kidding. Fresh strawberries, like fresh tomatoes, are proof that there is a God, and that God? Is happy.

I just picked up 4 quarts of strawberries from the Amish lady up the road, so I present to you my Quick and Easy Strawberry Tartlets

There is NO measuring in this one. It all depends on how many strawberries you have.

You'll need:

1 package refrigerated pie dough OR one recipe of your favorite pie dough
Chocolate bits
Strawberry Jelly
(NOT JAM) or Strawberry glaze

You'll also need a tartlet pan (the kind of pan that looks like a mini cupcake tin), a cupcake tin, or a jumbo muffin pan. Whatever you have that's handy.

Eyeball your baking apparatus. If you're using a tartlet pan, a narrow drinking glass should be perfect for cutting out circles of dough. For a cupcake pan, probably a pint glass, or a biscut cutter. For a jumbo muffin tin, I used a quart sized soup container from the Chinese restaurant. Open up the pie dough, and place it flat upon your countertop. Cut out the circles of dough, and gently press them into your baking pans. (I recommend spritzing the pan's wells with Pam beforehand) Be sure to get the dough as flat to the sides/bottom as possible.

Take your handy fork, skewer, or other sharp pointy thing, and dock the pie dough. (Docking means "poke lots of little holes into it, so that when you bake this, it won't blow up like a balloon.) Make sure to get the bottom and the sides. Don't turn it into swiss cheese, but make sure that you've covered it pretty thoroughly.

Bake as directed on the package. (I went about 11 minutes, but I'd keep checking every few minutes after 5, just to be safe.) The crust is done when it's slightly browned, and crispy.

After you pull the crusts out of the oven, drop a few chocolate bits into the bottom of the crust, and let them melt a bit. Smoosh the melty bits around to coat the bottom of the crust. Remove the crusts from their pans, and let them cool off on a baking rack.

When the shells are cooled, fill with sliced (or un) strawberries. The tartlet pans are perfect for one small strawberry each, the larger ones, you can slice up several to fill.

If you'd like, you can stop right there, but if your strawberries aren't quite sweet enough for you, or you'd like them shiny, melt some strawberry jelly in the microwave and brush it over the strawberries with a pastry brush. Taadaa! Good eatin!


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