This sweet and savory combination of strawberries and goat cheese wrapped in a flaky pastry makes an amazing breakfast or brunch treat!
It's hard going through life not knowing who you are. But it happens to most of us, doesn't it? I seem to go through periods of feeling really confident in knowing who I am, and other times being completely clueless. "Who am I?" Please tell me I'm not the only one who goes through life saying this... with expletives... every couple of years?
These "pastries" are going through the same thing. They're having a bit of an identity crisis, and I totally feel for them.
Are they sweet? Yes. Are they savory? Yes! Are they for breakfast? Totally! Are they an appetizer? Yep. Dessert? Sure! Are they hand pies? Kind of! Are they pop tarts? Um, I guess? Are they turnovers? Not technically...
When something tastes this good, I don't think labels should really matter.
Strawberry season has a very short window here in South Jersey, and we're smack dab in the middle of it right now. I've been picking boatloads of strawberries from my garden, which will never cease to be an amazing and exciting experience for me. On top of that, I've been buying up berries from the farmer's market like nobody's business.
They're just so tiny, so deep red in color, so sweet and so full of ripe strawberry flavor. Those big honkin' flavorless berries from California? They can't hold a candle to these little gems. I've been hoarding them in my fridge and freezer like a crazy person, holding out for the very best things to make with them, trying desperately to divert someone from just throwing them into a smoothie.
Strawberries and goat cheese are a natural pair. The tangy, creamy cheese is just lovely against the sweet-tart strawberry filling. A sprinkling of lemon thyme and sea salt bring these over just a smidge to the savory side, but if you swap that out for a little raw sugar instead, you've easily got yourself a dessert.
To make these, I switched up my standard pie crust just a bit and added an egg yolk for stability similar to pasta frolla, Italian sweet shortcrust pastry, plus a wee bit of cornmeal for a different texture. That cornmeal crust is everything! The crunch completely addictive.
The dough gets split into two, then rolled out nice and thin, filled, sealed and baked. The tops will need to be vented to let out a little steam, so I opted to use the wide side of a pastry bag tip to cut out little holes. It didn't occur to me that they look like bloody gunshot wounds until Chaser mentioned it, and now I can't get the image out of my head. Ho hum. So unless it's Halloween, you might want to consider using a different venting method.
These pastries make such a fun and unique appetizer. Who wouldn't be stoked to nosh on one at a sunny outdoor party along with a spritzy summer cocktail? But my favorite way to eat them is in the morning, with a good cup of coffee (or shot of espresso over ice cream, aka affogato) and a few rays of sunshine.
Whip up a batch, give a few out to your friends, and then freeze all the rest. Take one out when you're ready to eat, pop it in the toaster oven, and you're all set. Freezer to toaster oven treats are the best!
Sometimes it's not so much about not knowing who you are, but acknowledging that you can be lots of different things, at lots of different times, to lots of different people. And it's totally cool. As long as you're good, and you know you're good, labels will never matter.