I was 8 or 9 years old and being raised by my elderly aunt in Aberdeen, Wash., when I discovered dog biscuits. Having no dog of my own I was quite impressed by those cute little bone-shaped dog treats.
My little playmate Scooter had a ragtag dog named Tippy, and Tippy had a never-ending source of those dog bones that I had quickly learned to like as much as Tippy did. Each time Scooter and I were together, I would devour as many of those dog bones as I could and would fill my pockets with as many as they would hold.
My dog biscuit-eating days came to a swift and final end the moment my aunt discovered those doggie treats in my clothes pockets. I was sternly admonished and warned that the biscuits would turn into worms in my stomach.
Flash forward to adulthood. It was at a holiday party that Hubby Norm inadvertently discovered dog biscuits. Not the ordinary dog biscuits, but “gourmet” ones — biscuits that had been dipped into a chocolate-seeming substance that would make them, I suppose, more attractive to the canine population.
At some point during this party, those biscuits had mistakenly been moved from the kitchen to the living room's cocktail table.
After eating his first biscuit, Norm turned to me and, in a whisper, warned me to avoid those cookies at all costs, declaring that our hostess was a poor baker of cookies.
Incidentally, it was for this very same holiday party that this poor baker had assembled and baked a most delicious strawberry and fig-filled tart, instantly raising her baking level from a zero to a 10 in Norm's view.
With our warm weather and strawberries and figs in our markets and prices beginning to drop, I felt this was the perfect time to experiment with that strawberry and fig tart from the past.
The following recipe takes that ordinary fruit tart to another level, that of a galette, by adding a frangipane filling on top of a sheet of puff pastry instead of a traditional pie crust. This also removes the worry from the cook who might not be proficient in creating pie crust.
After baking and sharing two galettes with other members of the Santa Cruz Mountains Gourmet Dinner Club, I have decided the recipe below has accomplished what I intended — a simple crust, a delectable filling and plump and juicy strawberries and figs beautifully arranged in rows on top, just waiting for that dollop of almond-flavored whipped cream.
- Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.