Well, this morning we’re off to a wedding near Toronto, and we’re packing up the tent and our soon to be rumpled niceties to prepare for a few days of Canadian camping. Of course there is a million things to do, and here I am, sitting here with you, because as usual, I’m not packing when I should be.
I might even be delaying a little, maybe just putting off the endless span of car hours, even the first night in our brand new tent, although I might be selling myself short a bit. But the truth is, neither Joey nor I have much ruggedness in our blood, and although we’ve both done our fair share of outdoor sleeping, it has taken us this long to actually purchase a tent. And so as we embark on this little family adventure, we’re sort of trying to pretend that we are absolutely comfortable doing this sort of thing, just so that the girls don’t have to absorb those qualities in their parents like “I’m not much of a camper.” Although when we pitched the tent in the backyard last week and spent the night inside, it did not seem to bode well for us that only two of the four of us remained in the morning. When Sadie went out to pee in the yard, and she didn’t quite aim so well, and then I went in with her to clean her up a bit, and then she said she wanted her own bed, and I sort of agreed after sleeping on the upper side of a tilting air mattress for half the night, we called it a night. I think we’ll be better tonight. And so I’ll be back on Monday, and I’ll let you know how the tent held up.
But just to tide you over until then, a tart.
Yesterday, thanks to a very dear friend who took off on her blackberry patch for the week, there were lots and lots of blackberries. I made jam all day, while Joey took pictures and basked in the joy of so many berries. I’ve rarely seen him so content. And so just to really bring him to the pinnacle of what he holds dear, I added a fruit tart into the mix.
Because Joey is bustling around me as we speak, and because I can hear the girls downstairs asking when we’re leaving every 30 seconds, I’m not going to tell you about the night, or who was over for dinner, or the way this tart melds together in the nicest way.
I think I’ll just let Rosie cut you a slice.
This one is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, that master of idyllic summer nights (and of all of the River Cottage Cookbooks). The pastry is lovely, and the filling can be adapted for whichever fruits you may have around. He writes the recipe with blackberries and apples, but I had nectarines and that was wonderful. Try it out this week, and when I get back I’ll look forward to hearing about what fruit combinations you perfected…
Blackberry Nectarine Crumble Tart
adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Cookbook
4 cups blackberries
1 pound nectarines, pitted, peeled, and chopped into chunks
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
for the pastry
1 1/4 cups flour
7 tablespoons butter, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
For the crumble
2/3 cup flour
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 tablespoons roughly chopped almonds
Make the pastry: sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the sugar and the egg yolk, and just enough ice water to make the dough hold together. Press into a disk, wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry to 1/4 inch thick, and use it to line a buttered 10-inch tart pan. Then chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the crust with parchment, and pour about 1 cup of dry beans into the tart pan to line the bottom and weight it down. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans, and bake for 5 minutes more.
While the crust is baking, put the berries and the nectarines in a pot with the sugar, lemon juice and a tablespoon of water. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Make the crumble topping by rubbing all of the ingredients together.
Spoon the fruit into the prepared crust, leaving the liquid in the pan. Top with the crumble topping. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden.
Reduce the fruit liquid by about half. Serve tart with whipped cream, and drizzle fruit syrup over the cream.