Miss Scarlett, In the Kitchen, With the Butcher Knife

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!  It’s official:  I will never bake again.  For those of you getting to know me, you’re well aware of my affinity towards salty food, predominately jalapeno cheetos and entire cartons of shredded parmesan.  I am a total salt fiend in my taste buds!  But on rare occasions when I flip through cook books and cooking magazines I get this domestic tug at my sweet tooth and decide to bake something.

They make it look so easy.  It’s really not fair. 

Bake 4-5 minutes until chips are melted.

*Sigh*  I don’t know what happened.

The Recipe:  Strawberry Ginger Tart by Chantal Bourbon, Montreal, Quebec 

1/4 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup milk chocolate chips


1 pkg. (8 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese

3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

2 Tbsp. 2% milk

4 cups halved strawberries


1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam

1 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg white and ginger.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-in. tart pan.

Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Sprinkle with chips.  Bake 4-5 minutes longer or until chocolate is melted; spread over crust.  Cool on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and milk until smooth; spread over chocolate.  Top with strawberries.  In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave jam in 10 second intervals until melted; brush over strawberries.  Sprinkle with ginger.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

The Catastrophe in the Kitchen:

The tart crust went fine.  Sure it was messy, but I got that done.  I baked it for it’s nice 12 minutes, and I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top and waited for 5 additional minutes for them to melt.  THEY NEVER MELTED!  12 minutes later!  I now was having a raging fit in the kitchen, “This is why I don’t bake!  How am I going to salvage this?  The crust is hard as a rock now, and these f***ing chips still aren’t melted!  Why do I try?  I don’t even like sweets!  I’m going to stab this tart!”

Here is where some breathing exercises would have helped, however, I was out of cream cheese.  “Oh my god, I don’t know if it’s worth a trip to the store to finish this awful project or not!  The chocolate looks like poop cause I can’t get it to spread evenly.  I’m so irritated right now!  Fine, if I’m going to the store, I’m going grocery shopping, I’m not making a special trip for this stupid tart!”

An hour later, I put the groceries away, I made the cream cheese spread, I cut the strawberries, I nuked the jam in 10 second intervals and drizzled it over the berries.

Me and My Tart, fake smiling satisfaction. I am ready to throw this tart across the room.

I am never baking again.  Enjoy these photos now, people, holiday or no holiday I’m through!  It makes me way too angry!

At least it looked pretty.  The next morning we got the tart out of the fridge for breakfast.  Using a butcher knife, my poor Joe had to use all his arm muscle to cut through the over-baked crust!  It honestly did taste good, and if jaw pain is normal after such desserts, then I guess I did a splendid job!

If any of you are considering being a guest at Che’ Witkins’ B & B, I highly recommend the gin smoothies with your tart.  Made the previous evening’s anxieties all the more delicious!

Finally, a peaceful moment. Gin smoothie, espresso coffee, stupid tart, book to read!

26 responses

  1. Don’t you just HATE it when you do exactly what the recipe says and it doesn’t come out looking AT ALL like the picture in the book? AACK! But if it tasted good and you didn’t have to make an extra trip to the dentist to put a tooth chip back on, then….

    1. Thank you for finding the light at the end of my baking tunnel. You’re right, Patti, if I still have all my teeth, perhaps I’ll bake again. 😛

  2. Baking is a lot of trouble. To make it worse, I’m a perfectionist. So, if I’m making something to take to a gathering, it has to be perfect. If I’m making it for just me and the hubby, it better be 99% perfect. For what it’s worth, it looks delish. Very cool and refreshing.

    I was/am a salt person. I didn’t start liking sweets until I hit my mid-thirties. I really have to watch myself.

    1. So, how did you handle that? Do you dip your cheetos in chocolate? Potato chips and jam? WHAT DO YOU DO?! How will I handle both cravings and still keep my sanity?!

      1. I just don’t keep sweets in the house. Deadly diabetes runs on my father’s side of the family. I consider fruits my sweets. Ugh. LOL

  3. I think it looks really good. But I know how you feel. For years I baked all kinds of Christmas cookies, but they never tasted as good as they should when compared to how much work went in to them.

    1. And even when people compliment them, it doesn’t help, not when they’re biting into it with the sides of their mouths using werewolf strength to break a bite off.

  4. LOL! I feel that way reading instructions for anything other then baking- knitting, to do project setting up my DVD player grrr. At least you got a great picture out of it.

    1. But when will I ever use this photo again? It contains only memories of frustration. LOL

  5. Jess, you need a few lessons from the salt/sweet mistress! Chocolate covered potato chips, chocolate covered peanuts, chips with a dip made from cream cheese and crushed pineapple, pretzel rod dipped in Nutella…I can’t go on, I’m getting hungry again! Something sweet for guests: easiest ever recipe and unbelievably refreshing on a hot summer day: graham craker crust, mix cream cheese with 1/2 container cool whip, mix 2 boxes lemon pudding and pour over it. refridgerate overnight, spread with remaining cool whip. Ta-da! thanks for making me laugh…again!

    1. Nutella, now we’re talkin’! I can handle that!

  6. Yeah, you look like you’re grimacing in that photo…I’d have guessed things didn’t go smoothly even if I hadn’t read your post! For what it’s worth, the tart looks amazing, and those gin smoothies…yum! Where’s the recipe for that?!

    1. Gin smoothies: Frozen banana chunks (I just buy em in bulk, cut em up and throw in a bag in the freezer to have on hand, then you don’t need ice), frozen mixed berries, any kind of juice to liquify (I used apple this time), and as much gin as you like! Throw in some spinach leaves for health, you won’t taste them.

      1. I don’t know about the spinach leaves, but otherwise, sounds great!

  7. See that is exactly why I don’t bake. Sweets are generally anything but on the creation end. We don’t keep them around. Bad Juju 🙂

    Try fruit. See, now a nice bowl of strawberries and a picture of a tart would have been a wonderful treat.

    1. How about a picture of a nice bowl of cheetos?

  8. Hooray for never baking again! I discovered the aerodynamic properties of “Jamie Oliver’s half hour meals” when I flung it across the kitchen. Yes, maybe it does only take half an hour if you’re a trained chef, Oliver, you muppet! None of the meals are humanly possible if you want to retain your cool or your sanity. I vote for cheetos. With chopsticks, so you don’t have to lick fingers afterwards. That’s CLASS, that is.

    1. Ok, this makes me feel much better. Thank you Damian! 😀

  9. Jess,
    I had a cooking catastrophe this past Thursday. I burnt some pasta. I swear everything correctly until the last step. I don’t want to go into it. It still upsets me lol.
    I feel your pain. At least you have a funny story to tell.

    1. And jaw pain! Sorry to hear about your pasta. That’s no fun either.

  10. […] Jess Witkins, writer, decides to make a strawberry tart (against her better judgment):  “Miss Scarlett in the Kitchen with the Butcher Knife” […]

  11. Had one of those experiences when I tried baking flourless chocolate cake eight years ago. It’s so hard you can throw it on the wall and it might crack the wall. In fairness, it tastes great. My uncle and aunt said it tastes like a fudge (they’re the only brave people to try it since they don’t know my tendency to experiment). Still, it doesn’t deter me from trying. 🙂

    1. I will continue to cook, but I think baking is not for me without supervision of someone with more experience. And frankly, I’m bad at sharing the kitchen.

  12. OK, Jess, don’t hate me…I LOVE to bake. Sauces get my goat every time and I’m banned from the chopping after too much Knife-Finger contact. But I look forward to Christmas baking every single year…

    1. I’m not sure we’ll have anything to talk about, Jenny. I could be persuaded if you let me lick the bowl. 😉

  13. […] or if my father had his way, cake decorator  – which could work if y’all are in the mood for an “abstract” trend in the bakery business. God, remember that time I attempted to bake a tart??! […]

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