Monday, January 17, 2005
All of sudden, I see strawberries everywhere. Yup, they come into season in the middle of January in Japan. Why? I have no idea, but could only guess that maybe it has something to do with all the valentine cakes decorated with strawberries that will be flying out of the bakeries come February.
Not that I am complaining. As it so happened, they were on sale at the supermarket next to my office, so I bought two boxes for about $10, and launched into a strawberry themed cooking frenzy when our hiking plan was thwarted by the two days of freezing rain over the weekend.
We started off with sliced strawberries wrapped in golden crepes dusted with powdered sugar and doused in chocolate syrup. Am not exactly a crepe-making person, but the recipe was so simple and easy to follow that things turned out really well. Don’t they look pretty?
Next, I made some strawberry daifuku for Jason to take to the office. A couple of them went straight from my potato starch covered hands into our mouths, but some did make it to the office-bound box.
The great finale was a strawberry pie. However, I must report that it wasn’t as grand as I had envisioned. For starters, I thought I could get away with letting the rolled out pie dough rest in the fridge for a couple of hours instead of overnight, but it shrunk while baking in the oven. Not by much, but enough to render the pretty fluted edge and the little heart cutouts I stuck on the edge of the pie invisible. Then, the topping I made for the pie had way too much starch in it. I blame myself for not following my instinct to cut it down. So we ended up with a pie with barely a crust and strawberries topped with, instead of a glistening glaze, something that looks like gruel.
This is Jason’s reaction when he first saw it on the kitchen counter: “Oh, a strawberry pie. It looks ni…. Why does it look like that? What’s that on top?”
It does not look appetizing at all, kind of like extra thick shredded crab soup dumped on the strawberries. Thank goodness nasty looking things sometimes taste good, as is the case with the pie. Believe it or not, I didn’t even notice the starchiness of the topping against the fresh strawberries.
This is Jason’s reaction when he first took a bite: “Mmmm, very good! So much better than it looks!”
Piecrust recipe (how to make crust, and how to bake it)
**Despite failure this time, this is a tried and true piecrust and my absolute favorite. A bit involved in the making (I make two at a time and freeze one), and takes a lot of planning because the dough has to rest for two separate nights for best result. If you don’t, you’ll get a shrunken pie like I did.
Pie recipe (remember to cut down starch)