The best part about Scotland in the summer is the strawberries. They’re sweet, they’re softer, they’re local and they’re nothing like the gigantic, tasteless super strawbs I used to buy from grocery stores when I lived in Canada. These strawberries remind me of summers growing up, going to the lake with my family and my Grandma Sasaki, and stopping to pick strawberries from a farm on the way home. Those strawberries were distinctive in taste and a part of lasting memories. Until I moved to Scotland and had summer strawberries here, I thought the only place I could buy strawberries like that were from these Upick farms.
A popular summer treat that’s made with Scottish Strawberries (in fact, it’s made across Britain), is strawberry tarts. Shortbread or shortcrust pastry, subtly sweet cream, fresh British strawberries and sometimes, a sweet artificially coloured, sugary gel over top. Delicious, apart from the fakery.
Since going primal, strawberry tarts were no longer part of the primal template, although some of its ingredients were. There’s nothing a little research, food smarts and practising won’t do to make a new primal, gluten-free treat! Or twelve!
Once you make these babies, you’ll want them all the time. While strawberries are seasonal, despite big grocery stores trying to convince us otherwise, this crust recipe is versatile for more seasonal fillings. I’m in the development stages of a chocolate cream tart, (update: I never got there. Life took over, sorry…).
Gluten-free Strawberry Tarts
3 cups / 300g ground almonds (or almond flour)
4 tbsp butter or coconut oil + extra for greasing
3-4 tbsp xylitol*
250mL double cream, whipped cream or coconut cream
1 punnet (300g) strawberries
*if you don’t have xylitol, you can use 1-2 tbsp honey
1. Preheat your oven to 170’C/350’F. Grease your pie dish or cupcake tin with butter or coconut oil.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground almonds, butter, xylitol (or honey), and egg. With your hands, work the mixture until it’s fully combined and becomes a sticky-ish paste. Unlike normal shortcrust pastry, it’s okay to over handle this dough as no matter what, you won’t affect the flakiness.
3. Transfer the mixture to your pie dish and form into a pretty pie crust. If you’re making individual tarts, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (just under 50g each), and form into small tarts.
If making the tarts, take a piece of baking parchment longer than the tart tin and cover the top of the tin. Then, fold the excess parchment around the side, tucking under the bottom. Place in the oven like this and bake for 20-25 minutes. This allows your tarts to bake evenly and turn a nice shade of golden, rather than dark brown.
Remove from the oven to let cool.
5. Wash your strawberries and remove the stems. Whip your double creamor whipping cream, then empty into a piping bag. You choose the tip you’d like.
6. When the crust is totally cooled, start assembling!
For the pie: pipe a thin layer of cream along the bottom, or alternatively, spread stewed fruit instead. Then place the strawberries, stem side down, on the crust.
Then, pipe the remaining cream in each gap between the strawberries. Like so.
It’s also 100% gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free, but not free from taste.
Now this dessert is special for other reasons as well. They seem to be summer birthday cakes too! I made the paleo pie version for my good coconut friend Amie, an elite runner and colleague of mine. Not only did she love it, but our non-primal colleagues did too. A sugar-loving student of ours had a cheeky taste of it and absolutely LOVED it! To this day, he still wants me to make the tarts for him.
As you know, in all of this cooking, baking, blogging and reading, I want to start my own primal business. Well, the posting the pie to Instagram a month ago resulted in my first customer! Another colleague Rachel jokingly asked if I could make her the same pie for her birthday last week. I said I’d seriously do it, but tarts instead, and Rachel agreed. The photos of the tarts in this post are Rachel’s birthday tarts, with the photos taken by her. And here’s my profit from my first order.
What’s your favourite summer fruit?
What’s your favourite summer treat?