Oklahoma Table: Strawberries for Mom

What better way to treat mom than with local strawberries.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: May 9, 2012

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than the juicy pleasure of Oklahoma strawberries. You have to hurry though, as strawberry season in Oklahoma is a short three to four weeks, according to several growers I spoke with.

If an Oklahoma outing is on your Mother's Day Weekend, head to the Strawberry Festival in Stilwell this weekend. You'll find plenty there to whet your appetite for this beautiful berry.

What's not to like about Oklahoma Strawberries: simple sugared berries drizzled over vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, strawberry pie, strawberry jam on toast, strawberry cake, strawberry smoothies, strawberries with pancakes, strawberry muffins, strawberry bread — the list is endless.

When it comes to strawberry ice cream, my Enid friend Donita Mitchell makes the best. It is literally full of berries. Years ago we tried to photograph this amazing stuff at high noon in 106-degree temperatures. I have to say it was a yummy finger-licking event, but for strawberry ice cream it was as good as it gets. I still think of that ice cream as “Strawberry Heaven” ice cream.

The last of Oklahoma's strawberry season just happened to coincide with Mother's Day, so I thought it would be great to make a special Mother's Day dessert with Oklahoma ingredients. A strawberry tart or a strawberry pizza both made with your favorite piecrust fit beautifully into our strawberry Mother's Day theme.

The crust can be one you buy from the freezer case of your neighborhood market or a homemade variety using made-in-Oklahoma flour and butter. For certain occasions I will purchase puff pastry, but homemade pastry is something I take a special pride in. You also could adapt a shortbread recipe pressed into a circle or square. Whatever pastry you choose will need to be prebaked for the pizza or tart application.



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Oklahoma Strawberry

Tart or Pizza

Pastry:

We used a butter-infused pastry made from Shawnee Mills Flour and Hiland, Braum's or Wagon Creek Creamery butter. Or use your own favorite recipe or purchased pastry, rolled out and placed in tart pan or in a circle with the edge turned up on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. The circle or tart can be up to 10 inches across. The center of the pastry should be pricked all over with a fork before baking, so that it does not rise up and spoil the form of the tart or pizza. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 425 degrees or until golden. Allow to cool thoroughly before filling.

Filling:

8 ounces Lovera's Caprino di Krebs or cream cheese softened

3 tablespoons Oklahoma honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled pastry.

Strawberries:

1 quart of strawberries

Remove stems and slice in half for strawberry pizza or leave intact to be inverted for tart. We found some nice Oklahoma strawberries at Urban Agrarian in Oklahoma City.

For the tart start, in the center with the largest berry and place the remaining berries in circles surrounding one after another until reaching the edge of the tart.

For the Strawberry Pizza, start on the outside, placing the large part of the halved strawberry next to the rim of the crust on top of the cheese filling. Work around then inward in concentric circles until reaching the middle or the pizza. (See video)

Glaze:

1/3 cup Garden Club or Griffin's Plum Jelly

¼ cup water

Place jelly and water in small sauce pan and heat over medium low heat until jelly melts and combines with water to make a syrup. Use a pastry brush to thoroughly coat top of berries to finish the tart or pizza. Glaze will seal the surface of berries.

This lovely tart or pizza should be assembled and served shortly before serving for freshness. If any is left, keep it in the fridge.

Note: A pizza cutter works great for cutting fruit tarts.

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