Celebrate Mother’s Day with strawberry treat


April showers bring May flowers, and this year in Southern California that certainly seems to be the case. I went with some friends last week to visit the Rose Haven Heritage Garden in Temecula to view the roses in full bloom. They were gorgeous.

Tucked away in south Temecula off Jedediah Smith Road, the rose garden is home to almost 2,000 roses of every color. Hybrid teas, climbers, floribundas and mini roses populate the grounds. There is also a xeriscape plant section devoted to succulents and drought tolerant plants.

I think it is apropos that the blooms are so abundant just in time for Mother’s Day. While you can’t pick the flowers at the garden, I think it would be the perfect place to enjoy the sights, smells and serenity with your mom or mom-in-law.

My mom turned 80 years old earlier this year and she is a gardener. In every home and climate that we have lived in while I was growing up, my mom managed to have a garden with flowers, veggies, or fruit.

When we lived on Pacific Islands, I remember her gardens included plumeria, hibiscus and a pineapple or two. In the U.S. Southwest, she had cactus, magnolias, basil, hot chili peppers, jalapenos and tomatoes. I’m sure that I don’t remember everything she grew.

Mom now lives in a New York City apartment, so there’s no outside garden for her to tend. But she enjoys growing things indoors. Orchids, bonsai, asparagus fern and rosemary grace her living areas and bring life to her fifth story condo. If she lived locally, you can be sure I would be taking her to the rose garden in Temecula sometime in the next few days.

As for me, I’m baking myself a yummy dessert in celebration of Mother’s Day with my family. This week’s recipe is one that I cobbled together from various cookbooks. If you want to skip making your own crust, you can use store-bought crust, cutting this down to a three-ingredient treat.

This tart is fresh, fruity and easy. It does require some chilling time in the fridge, so plan accordingly. While it sets, I’ll enjoy the roses in my own garden.

Five-Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Tart

Photo by Betty Williams

Crust ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 112 g) chilled salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp cold water
  • Filling ingredients:
  • 1 small pkg (3 oz) package strawberry Jello
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1.5 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced


Place the flour and sugar in a medium bowl and add the cut-up butter. You can either pulse together in a food processor or cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or two knives. The butter pieces should be about the size of peas and the mixture resemble coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix.

Add the remainder of the water and stir (or pulse in processor) just until the mixture starts to clump together. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a floured board. Press the heel of your palm into the dough and press down, slighting kneading the dough three or four times.

Flour the board again and roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle. Line an 11-inch tart pan with the dough, pressing lightly to smooth and fill edges. Trim edges. Refrigerate dough for an hour to chill, or place in freezer for 20 minutes.

To pre-bake the crust before filling, preheat oven to 375˚F. Place aluminum foil or parchment paper on crust and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice to prevent crust from puffing up. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights and bake another 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

While crust is baking, place Jello in a small bowl. Pour 1 cup of hot water over Jello and whisk until gelatin is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Arrange strawberries in cooled tart shell and pour room temperature Jello over it. Place tart on a level surface in the refrigerator and chill until firm, about four hours or overnight.