Perfect for clinging to the last bursts of summer, oat flour and white whole wheat flour combine with a simple filling for this rustic strawberry tart.
Just The Food: Rustic Strawberry Tart
Making a flaky pie crust is complicated enough, so the filling in this rustic strawberry tart is pretty straightforward. However, the result is a juicy slice of pie that preserves the last legs of summer.
The Personal: Clinging to Contentment
There’s a lull that comes this time of year. Air conditioners go quiet. Windows open. Cicadas narrate the evenings. The sun slinks away earlier and earlier, and the temperature is just right. It’s a brief moment of perfection, teetering between two seasons, and the related emotions. Fall entices with its coziness, but I want to feel the sun on my shoulders for a stretch longer.
I felt the perfection of the cusp so fully last night. This is contentment, I thought, as I walked my neighborhood during the rose-gold hour. I felt immensely grateful for my health, my safety, for the time to renew my strength and my sense of self.
I reflected on the solid friendships I have developed during the strangest of times, and the surprising ways people enter our lives. I felt the ease of a Sunday devoid of Monday dread. I felt so light and peaceful, like floating in bathwater.
Ironically, this peace has found me at a time when my life is the loosest, the most up in the air, when I have the least certainty or control. Did I ever have certainty or control? Not really. It’s an illusion I fought so hard to maintain in past chapters, but I’ve been learning to slow the f$%k down to put it in “French.”
When those moments of immense gratitude and contentment emerge, I want to embrace them like a proverbial bear hug, to lean into them like Julep leans into my legs seeking extra affection. I want to cling to contentment because choosing gratitude is the only certainty.
Simple moments. Simple observations and gratitude. Simple strawberry filling mixed with the creative potential of flour, butter, salt, and water. Let’s cling happily to the lingering summer days while feeling the teasing of fall. Let’s cling to contentment in the form of a rustic strawberry tart with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream of homemade whipped cream.
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Want a strawberry dessert without the hassle of pie crust? Try this Red, White & Blue Rustic Millet Skillet Cake from my cookbook, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook. Baking this almond-flavored cake directly in a skillet removes the fuss that comes with more complicated desserts and pans. There’s no fear of flipping or collapsing, no complicated crust schedules. It’s an easily transportable, berry-laden dessert that pairs extra well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (but what doesn’t?).
The best part of summer? Sharing pie with friends who have beautiful gardens and porches. Julep and I are all about maximizing our time outdoors.
Strawberry Tart with an Oat Flour Crust
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup oat flour
- 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled (2 sticks)
- 4-5 Tablespoons cold water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Raw cane sugar for dusting the top crust
- 16 oz fresh strawberries (about 2 cups sliced)
- 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch, cornstarch or tapioca flour
- Homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
- Fresh mint
For the Crust:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours. Scatter the butter pieces over the top, and work with a pastry blender, or your fingers, to combine, until the mixture resembles gravel, with lots of butter chunks the size of large peas.
- Drizzle the chilled water over the flour mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time, tossing the dough with a rubber spatula to moisten evenly. Add just enough liquid for the dough to hold together when you give it a squeeze, and add it directly to the dry floury bits that like to hang out on the bottom of the bowl.
Working the Dough:
- Knead the dough in the bowl 10-20 times to bring it together. Dump the dough onto the counter or a cutting board, and drag portions of the dough across the counter with the heel of your hand (this makes the mixture come together and yields a flakier dough). Gather the dough into a ball (a metal bench scraper helps). Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap it loosely in plastic or beeswax wrap. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
For An Extra Flaky Crust:
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough disk into a rectangle that is about ¼” thick. Fold it in thirds like you’re folding a letter, then roll up from a skinny end into a loose spiral. Gently press to flatten it slightly, and chill for 30 minutes.
- For extra, extra flake, repeat this step once more.
Shape the Dough:
- Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap it, and place on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll it into a rectangle, of 1/4-inch thickness, slightly larger than the rectangular tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan, and trim the edges. Chill the tart pan for 30 minutes. In the meantime,
For a Decorative Crust:
- Gather and roll out the remaining dough and use a small knife to carve your artwork. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar. Set aside to chill.
For the Filling:
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sliced strawberries, coconut sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and arrowroot starch until combined. Let sit at room temperature while the crust mixture is chilling. After the crust has chilled, arrange the sliced strawberries in the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the pie base for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the oven and add the top design pieces. Continue to bake for 20 minutes, until the strawberry filling is set, and the top crust design is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Serve with homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Garnish with fresh mint, and enjoy!