Strawberry Tart by Bella

Strawberry Tart by Bella


Recently I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and I was Googling ingredients. I had some broccolini from the farmer’s market, some sausage Dom had grilled and I’d frozen, and I don’t remember what else and I was looking for ideas. I found a Jacques Pepin recipe that looked really good and when I popped it up on my kitchen screen I noticed there was an embedded video. I clicked play and of course within seconds there were four sets of eyes glued to the screen. Bella, Sophie, Ben, and Anthony watched the whole show as Jacques cooked a gorgeous menu.

What really caught Bella’s imagination was his dessert. He used store bought sugar cookie dough to construct a sort of tart base. After he’d baked it, he filled it with raspberries and then topped it with some seedless raspberry jam. At that point Bella interrupted the show to begin to imagine the tweaks she could make. She said she’d substitute strawberries (since she doesn’t like raspberries) and she would add cream cheese before putting the berries on. And she’d top it with her favorite pomegranate jam.

Well, that actually sounded pretty good so I told her we’d get the ingredients and she could make it for us one night. I bought the sugar cookie dough and some extra cream cheese but dragged my feet because, well, supervising such a project sounded like quite an endeavor.



Having a bunch of strawberries on hand from yesterday’s field trip, I declared today was the day. A perfect chance to make a special treat to welcome Daddy back from his trip to Denver for the Catholic Media Conference.


I had to help, of course. I did most of the dough rolling and shaping, though Bella did help me to crimp a lip around the edge (which disappeared when the dough puffed up during baking. I don’t remember what Jacques did that prevented that from happening.

Note, she’s using a real knife to cut. She’s finally graduated to sharps.

I also did the mixing of the cream cheese. We added some vanilla and powdered sugar and whipped it up into a nice filling.

But Bella did most of the spreading. And she cut and arranged all the strawberries herself. She picked out all the prettiest berries and placed each one carefully with great artistry. Then she spooned the jelly on and used a pastry brush to spread it on.

It was beautiful. And the taste… oh my… to die for. Seriously as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant. Everyone gobbled their serving and no one had to pretend their admiration. It was seriously good.


Bella’s already planning to make it again. And I think she’s got some ideas for tweaking the recipe. Because that’s what you do, right?


Oh and I forgot to mention that after watching Jacques work, all four kids were going through my cookbooks finding recipes that looked good. Sophie has declared that she wants to be a mommy and a cook. Ben wants to be a cook and a football player. My pickiest eater, he was bookmarking recipes in my Thai cookbook. I wonder if I let him make them would he eat them?

I’m wondering how long it will be till they are all taking turns cooking me dinner. Can’t wait.

My chef and her first masterpiece. I was too busy eating to snap any pictures of people enjoying the fruits of her labor.

Also…. Jacques’ Ragout of Broccolini, Beans, and Sausage? I tweaked it and it was amazing. I used our grilled sausages, sliced into rounds instead of the bulk sausage. I also added some red bell pepper and diced tomato because I had them on hand and needed to use them. I served it with some ravioli from the farmer’s market. Oh yeah. I’m making it again for sure.

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  • Some day you’ll have to visit the LIW Museum in DeSmet,SD.
    I fondly recall the sense of excitement as my father drove this,(then excited 10 year old, now an antiquity herself:)) the 100 miles (one way) from our home to Laura’s……an adventure unto itself!
    Laura’s words deepened my unknown then but realized later, Ignatian Catholic spirituality. So glad to read that your children are reaping similar benefits from LIW literature.

  • Oh I’d love to go to De Smet.

    But I’m really curious now…. what is the connection between LIW and Ignatian spirituality?

  • Start to keep a list of LIW quotes and you’ll see Ignatian spirituality shine through….for example:

    “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
    “The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”

    “Sadness was as dangerous as panthers and bears. the wilderness needs your whole attention.”

    “This earthly life is a battle,’ said Ma. ‘If it isn’t one thing to contend with, it’s another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and more thankful for your pleasures.”

    “It can’t beat us!” Pa said.
    “Can’t it, Pa?” Laura asked stupidly.
    “No,” said Pa. “It’s got to quit sometime and we don’t. It can’t lick us. We won’t give up.”
    Then Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.”

    “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most out of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and to have courage when things go wrong.”

    Don’t you sense St. Ignatius/Ignatian spirituality in her words?! Don’t you sense Laura falling in love with God through the experiences of her life? smile

    Perhaps you can plan a LIW tour some year, hitting the highlighted places from each of the books.  A “girl trip” to explore such rich history.

  • this may interest you:

    while Protestant, I like her idea of instilling keeping the Sabbath…the idea that rather than start a new Parish ministry, why not try to implement what God already requires of us… the family tries to engage in a kid friendly Ignatian Examen at meal time.  Also, the blog writer has a little gem regarding LIW as the kids read LHiBW…..auld lang syne…sweet quote.

  • My goodness, I hope you don’t get tired of my emails!

    Here’s a little book that may interest you and the kids:

    Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life
    Dennis Linn, Sheila F. Linn, Matthew Linn
    (Paulist Press)

  • Sharon, Oh I do love that list of quotes and I begin to see what you mean. I’m not actually very well versed in Ignatian Spirituality, but from the little I do know I can see the connection.

    I’ll have to check out the link and the books. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • I don’t think I’d want to narrate a story right after I’d had it read to me either. It takes a while for my brain to sift through things before they can come back out. (My friends think I’m hilarious because we’ll all watch a movie together and I’ll say nothing and then the next day, “That was a great movie!”)

  • Oh that Sabbath blog is very interesting. I noticed that auld lang syne quote when I re-read Little House in the Big Woods to Bella and Sophie recently.

    I like the Ignatian Examen idea. We already do something like it by ending our bedtime prayers with thanking God for all the good things of our day. It is fun to hear what the children think was especially good. I tried to add in a component of saying one thing we were sorry for before we say an Act of Contrition, but that’s a little harder and I kind of dropped it after a bit.

  • +JMJ+

    Sojourner, I can relate! Sometimes I laugh at a funny movie not while watching it, but one day after I’ve seen it. Usually while narrating it to someone else. Go figure! =)