A Tart of Strawberries

Until the discovery of the new world all we had were the little fraise de bois or wild strawberries. It took the French to take the red Virginia strawberry, cross it with the large yellow Peruvian and breed on a different continent what we think of as strawberries. This is a seventeenth century recipe from Kenelm Digby, but none the worse for surviving the centuries.


For the Pastry

  • 225g/8oz flour
  • pinchof salt
  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 115g/4oz lard zest of
  • 1 orange
  • a little water

For the Filling

  • 115g/4oz caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 punnets strawberries


To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt together and rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. You can use all butter to make the pastry, but the combination of butter and lard makes a crisper crust. Stir in the orange zest and only a little water. This is very short so chill it well before rolling out. Use a pastry cutter to cut out linings and lids for individual tart tins.

Mix together the caster sugar, cinnamon and ginger, put your strawberries into the cases and sprinkle with this mixture. Cover with a lid, sprinkle on a little more sugar mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 for 15 minutes.