Peach + Pluot Tart with Lemon Coconut Cream

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Friday evening and William and I took each other to the county fair. He stood in line for a corndog, a really good one, he said, and then we headed away from all the noise to the barns, ambling through each aisle one by one, comparing the chickens to ours, wondering at whether the tagline saying aggressive! scrawled under the price for a $40 bunny was a comment about the price, the animal’s temperament, or some other reason I already forget. Then we went to the hog barn, the sheep, and then the cattle. I beelined us towards the champion animals, commenting about how when I was in high school a dozen or more years ago, the genetics were just leaning towards better in the sheep division, and now the champion lambs are packed, their muscles rippling with every move.

 

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After it all we headed a couple blocks over to Friendly’s, a neighborhood natural foods store. We bought small pots of expensive delicious ice cream, brought it back home, and sat in the near-dark on the couch, eating little spoonfuls slowly. When I scraped the last bit from my dish and nearly got up for more, William stopped me, saying no just wait a moment and you’ll realize you’re done. 

And I did.
And I did.

It was a fabulous and simple evening after a long week with more weekend work ahead. It was lovely to just set everything else down for a few hours and be present, enjoying summer, enjoying the magic, realizing the hunger we’re hungry for can be fed in small doses of treats and much larger heaps of time with a loved one and their caring hand and arm around the shoulders, their well-intended suggestions, and in taking the time to share snippets of a long-ago passion at the county fair.

 

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The Recipe Redux asked for stone fruit this month. Even though I’ve been eating the various fruits daily, working apricots or plums into morning oatmeal, having a handful of cherries with afternoon snack, or gliding thin slices into whatever savory is up for dinner, this time of year calls for a treat, with stone fruits at their best.

This raw, barely sweet lemon and coconut cream tart is a real favorite, but one I often forget about. It’s one to make for a dinner party or a sunday feast. Or maybe, just because it’s summer and our weary selves need a little wholesome decadent goodness.

 

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Peach + Pluot Tart with Lemon Coconut Cream, adapted from my blackberry version
There are a few options here. The fruit can of course be changed up depending on preference, but the choice of nuts and sweetener can too. I used a mix of hazel and walnuts, the almond meal, and then used lucuma powder to sweeten. Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit that has a slightly mapley caramel flavor and the powder can be used as a natural sweetener. I had a nearly expired packet in the back of the pantry and put it to good use here, but the alternative of using about half the amount of regular or powdered sugar works well too and honestly isn’t added in enough quantity to do much harm.

5 medjool dates / 45 g, pitted and briefly soaked
1/2 cup / 50 g nuts of choice, toasted
1/2 cup / 50 g almond meal
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 15 oz. / 400 mL can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
2-4 Tbs. lucuma or sugar
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 peaches and pluots
lemon juice

  • In a food processor, combine dates, nuts, cinnamon, and salt.  Puree until finely chopped and the mixture sticks together when pinched with your fingers.  Turn out into a 7-8 in tart pan.
  • Open the chilled coconut milk and without stirring, spoon out the cream layer into a medium bowl. Reserve the watery milk in the bottom of the can for another use.
  • Whip the coconut cream along with the lucuma, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Spoon and smooth atop the nut layer.
  • Thinly slice the peaches and pluots and layer around the top of the coconut filling, in circles, as desired. To preserve the color, brush a little lemon juice across the fruit layer, and then lightly cover and set the tart in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

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Blackberry Mascarpone Tart–An Ode to Summer’s End

When W and I first began dating, the blackberries were just coming into season.   Now, already two years later, it’s blackberry season again. I know because, as we’ve been running in the park these last few weeks, we’ve been bombarded with the scent of sweet, ripe, bursting berries.  Tempted by the size, color, and the glorious smell, we decided to go picking.  Armed with only a bowl from the kitchen, and taking a quick five-minute walk out the door, we soon found our bowl was full, even as I ate as many as I saved for later!  One lady who drove to the park to go running entertained us as she literally jumped out of her car and dived in the bushes.  Clearly she needed some fuel for her run!

Earlier this summer I made a mascarpone tart with berries from the farmers market.  It was one of those dishes where I realized I had cream that was in desperate need of use, and not knowing what else to do, pulled out my wonderful Forgotten Skills cookbook.  I soon learned how simple it is to make mascarpone!  When I shared the finished product with family and friends on the Fourth of July, I realized I was onto something with this simple tart.  Now, as we enjoy the last few weeks of heat and sun that summer has to offer, this tart will certainly please–especially as we are laden with the freshest berries the season has to offer.  It can also be adapted later for other seasons, as the berries are easily interchangeable with other fruits, and surely will be savored again in the months to come!

Blackberry Mascarpone Tart
Mascarpone cheese recipe
Oatmeal pastry recipe
1/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 cups fresh blackberries
  • Mix the mascarpone, yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl. Spread evenly in prepared oatmeal pastry crust.  Cover loosely and chill for several hours and up to a day.
  • Prior to serving, wash berries and arrange on top of filling as desired.
For crust, (from Celebrate the Rain)
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, unsalted and cut into small pieces
About 4 Tbs. ice water
  • Combine oats and sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Add the flour and salt and mix evenly.  Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add the ice water, one splash at a time, until the mixture just comes together.
  • Remove from food processor, and pat into a flat circle.  Wrap in plastic and chill for an hour or more.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll out pastry into large circle, big enough to fit in bottom of tart pan with removable bottom.
  • Gently press into pan, and form rippled edges.  With a fork, evenly prick the pastry several times.
  • Cover the pastry with parchment paper and fill with either pie weights or dry beans.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.  At this point, remove the beans and parchment paper, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool to room temperature prior to preparing the tart.
For Mascarpone, (from the Forgotten Skills of Cooking)
1 quart heavy cream
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Heat the cream in a clean, stainless-steel saucepan, stirring constantly.
  • Once the temperature reaches 185 degrees F, turn off the heat, and remove from stove.
  • Add the lemon juice, stir for an additional minute, and then let cool to room temperature.
  • Once cool, cover tightly, and place saucepan in fridge to chill overnight.  It will thicken as it cools.
  • The next day, place a sieve or small colander, lined with a couple of coffee filter papers, over the saucepan to drain out the whey.
  • Rewrap this entire mixture, and place back in the fridge for an additional 8-12 hours.
  • At this point, the cheese is ready for use, but can also be tightly wrapped and left for several days to be used later.