I may have said this before, but I LOVE SUMMER. Love it. Every triple-digit, tank-top-tan, hot-leather-seats moment of it. Say it with me: I LOOOOOOOVE SUMMER!!!! I think that over ten years of New England winters made my love for it way stronger than it ever was before, growing up in the hot and humid mid-west. Don't get me wrong, I love other seasons too…in fact, you will probably hear me profess my undying love for them at some point too, but right now, summer is center stage and I am appreciating every extra sunny hour of it.
As you might have guessed, food plays a large part in my love for summer (let's face it, it plays a large part in my love for most things…). The availability of fresh delicious produce is high on my quality-of-life-meter and summer produces a bounty of goodness…some of it right in our own backyards! Now, this will be old-hat for those of you in California or some equally lovely place where you grow your own everything and dine outside year round, but humor me for a moment as I revel.
A few weekends ago I spent some time in Syracuse at my Aunt's house. My cousin was tending to a family friend's house/cat/gardens while she was on vacation and I went with her one of the afternoons. Right smack dab in her backyard was a cluster of raspberry bushes and to my delight, we were allowed to pick them! We brought home two good-sized bags full of bright red, ripe (some over-ripe and squishy), deliciously sweet raspberries…what's a girl to do!? Obviously one must bake.
I threw together this gloriously simple tart that really just maximizes the flavor of the berries and showcases their brilliant color. I used a store bought crust, because in my opinion it is just not worth the time to make your own. It's summer. It's hot. Don't go rolling out stuff if you don't have to. Most often a store bought crust does just as well, unless there are special additions to the crust like vanilla, or graham or lemon. The magic-jam that I used as the filling is something that Nigella Lawson taught me in her book “How to be a Domestic Goddess”. I love her. The rest is just nature's bounty – a little vanilla ice cream never hurts either.
Quick Backyard Raspberry Tart
You will Need:
3 cups fresh raspberries
Zest of one lemon
1 store-bought piecrust
1 cup sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Press the piecrust into a shallow tart pan (a pie pan works fine too, you will just have a thinner crust) and crimp the edges. Pierce with a fork several times and cook for 20 minutes or until just slightly browned. Let cool.
Simultaneously, in two separate oven-safe bowls, or pie pans (I used the disposable kind) put sugar into one and 1 cup of raspberries in the other. Put them in the oven for 25 minutes.
Pull the sugar and raspberries out of the oven and slowly pour the hot sugar onto the hot raspberries. Mix lightly with a fork and watch the magic happen! Let cool slightly, then pour jam into the cooled piecrust. Sprinkle jam layer with lemon zest.
Pile the remaining raspberries on top of the jam saving your most intact and whole ones for the top so it looks nice. Let cool. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
What is your favorite summer food recipe?