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.
If your mom is a cheesecake fan, decorate one with a strawberry topping. Slice berries, arrange them across the top and finish them with a glaze of any red Oklahoma jelly from Garden Club or Griffin's foods.
Our strawberry tart or pizza gets a layer of Caprino di Krebs, which is a creamy thick ricotta-like goat's milk cheese from Lovera's famous Italian grocery in that small eastern Oklahoma community. It is similar to Philadelphia cream cheese. It comes in an 8-ounce tub and is great as a spread on raisin toast for breakfast.
This lovely spread for me is reminiscent of the sheep's milk ricotta cheese some fellow food writers and I made in Umbria, Italy. I added Oklahoma honey from Honey Hill Farm and vanilla to make the perfect filling for our strawberry tart. It was thick enough to hold the strawberries in place for both the tart and the pizza.
Oklahoma strawberries are ripe and ready. You can find them at your local farmers market or from one of my favorite purveyors of Oklahoma products: The Urban Agrarian, where Matthew Burch gathers up great Oklahoma foods for the market that is open Wednesday through Sunday in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma strawberries are a great way to say “Happy Mother's Day.”
About the recipe
This recipe makes good use of the short but sweet season for Oklahoma strawberries. The season usually coincides with Mother's Day, making this an ideal dessert for moms on their special day. Cream cheese can be used, but I love Lovera's goat cheese softened with Honey Hill Farm honey. The combo makes a thick and creamy filling with an essence of honey.
Tart or Pizza
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
8 ounces Lovera's Caprino di Krebs or cream cheese softened
3 tablespoons Oklahoma honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 quart of strawberries
1/3 cup Garden Club or Griffin's Plum Jelly
¼ cup water