Remember when I told you we didn’t enjoy cooking and turning on the stove/oven because of the heat? It’s still very hot and we try to avoid cooking as much as possible. Which isn’t much of a sacrifice with all the fresh produce around these days. Finally local berries are available and this weekend F. and I went to the market to buy fresh starwberries, blueberries, gooseberries, and black currants.
Black currants and gooseberries remind me of my childhood. I grew up in a small village where we spent most summers running around in our garden or in those of our neighbours. It felt like the whole village was ours and we could just go everywhere just as we pleased. Our neighbours gardens were much more exiting than our own. Because they had berry bushes and we didn’t. In fact we were one of the few people who bought lots of produce at the grocery store while all the other families grew their own plant food. We only had a cherry tree and I remember that my grandmother used to can the cherries so we could eat them during winter. Since we only had one tree, it felt very special to have our own fruit and it also felt like something special to pick them, wash them, and finally place them in jars and watch the cherries cooking in the huge canning pot.
I am glad that I remember cherry canning as something special. I am sure that the women in our neighbourhood sometimes dreaded the summer, because there was so much work to do. Of course we kids didn’t see all that work. We used to help pick berries and had our mouths full of them at the same time. I don’t know if our neighbours appreciated this kind of “help”. For sure they had less fruit to can afterwards because we ate most of what we picked.
And all of our neighbours had red and black currant and gooseberry bushes.Tart and often sour these are not very kid friendly berries. But we loved eating them anyway. It was just so fantastic to pick them. And I wish I would still live in that village, so I could ask our neighbours for gooseberry or currant cake and pie recipes. I know they would bombard me. And probably bombard me with fruit, too. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I didn’t spent much time to think about what kind of recipe I should come up with to celebrate the arrival of local blackberries and gooseberries. Because I like to just sit down with a bowl and eat them raw. Which is almost like eating them in someone’s garden.
But last weekend we were invited to a birthday party and we promised to bring cake. I decided to make something that was as close as possible to fresh berries straight out of the garden. I didn’t want to mask the tartness and sourness of the berries by adding a lot of sugar and I wanted to keep them intact as well. So I went with a fresh fruit tart, which was inspired by Celine’s gorgeous white chocolate berry tart.
Fresh Berry Tart
For the crust:
300 g (10.6 oz) wholegrain cookies (or graham crackers)
50 g (1/2 cup) oats
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut sugar (substitute sucanat, muscovado or plain white sugar)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 pinch salt
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grind the cookies and oats into a fine meal. Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and press into a pie pan (28 cm/11 inch). Bake for ten minutes. Let cool.
For the filling:
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons coconut sugar, or more to taste (substitutes see above)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
50 g (1.8 oz) white chocolate, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate and oil in a saucepan and whisk until the starch is dissolved. Cook for 1 minute or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate, if using and oil. Pour into crust and let cool for 10 minutes.
fresh berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, black currants)
80 g (2.8 oz) white chocolate
Assemble the berries on top of the tart. Melt chocolate and place in a icing bag. Drizzle on top of the berries and let cool. Serve once the chocolate has cooled.