I should have paid more attention to my patch of strawberries. My negligence has led to the discard of many strawberries that got sunburnt. The discarded ones have either turned mushy (early stage of sunburnt) or have shrivelled up. This year, I have picked the strawberries almost two weeks later than June last year. My post from last year shows that the first round of harvest took place the beginning of June. However, this year the first round was done close to two weeks later.
I planned to make a tart with the strawberries. Thinking that there might not be enough strawberries for the tart, I bought a punnet of strawberries (250g) from the supermarket. It was an unnecessary purchase as I realised later that I actually had more than enough strawberries in the patch. As such, I picked only the ripest ones, close to 250g from the garden, and hoping the rest would survive a few more days out in the garden.
So, the tart was made with 500g of strawberries of which only half were homegrown. As for the crust, I made it from scratch with flour, butter, eggs and sugar after which it was filled up with crème pâtissière (a creamy custard made from egg yolks, milk, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla pods). The recipe that I based my tart was from www.750g.com. The result looked presentable but the taste was only acceptable. If there crust had been a little sweeter and crunchier, the tart would have been better. A little tweak in the recipe would be needed in the future.
It was a bit too soon to make another strawberry desert but a second round of harvest was urgently needed a week later. The rest of the strawberries really had to be picked before all of them went to waste. The bounty came close to 750g.
I used a third of the second harvest for a strawberry cake. I was hoping for a light chiffon Japanese cake topped up with homemade whipped cream and strawberries. Unfortunately, I must have made a booboo somewhere as the cake came out not as light as I wanted. On the other hand, the homemade chantilly (heavy cream with sugar) was more successful, making the cake more palatable :-).
The remaining two-thirds went into the making of strawberry jam. Various online recipes stated that most store-bought jams contain as much sugar as strawberries. My remaining 500g of strawberries required 500g of sugar! Since store-bought jams were usually a tad too sweet for me, I decided to cut the sugar down to 40%. Luckily I had reduced the sugar because the final product was still too sweet!
Another mistake I made was being too impatient. The recipe I found advised that the mixture should be cooked over a ‘feu doux’, that is, low fire. After simmering the mixture for one hour, it still retained too much fluid. To speed up the process, I turned up the fire by two notches and left it cooking without supervision while I continued grading the exams (it’s the period of finals at universities). When I emerged out of the grading daze barely 15 minutes later and rushed to the stove, it was too late. The mixture was already bubbling. I turned down the fire immediately and started stirring the jam. The jam had turned viscous, with bits of clumps.
The jam was of course still edible. However, the low temperature of the fridge had made the jam more viscous than before. To use the jam, one had to apply a bit of pressure on the spoon to scoop out the jam 🙂