settembre 1, 2011
I am fond of hedgerows, they have always had a powerful appeal on me. They grow patiently along the roads, or between the fields, every year they change colours according to the seasons and offer a shelter to small animals. They stand there, casting a mysterious spell on what lies beneath, hidden from the view of common people. They scents of wood, of fresh green, of ancient people.
I love the Tuscan hedgerows, so irregular, they draw the boundaries between fields of wheat, fields of sunflowers and fields at rest, they are made of bushes and trees that stand out among the thorns. They represent home and safety, being the hedges that surround you and protect you, crowded with fireflies in the hot season.
(she’s my mum!)
I love the English hedgerows, unwinding along the country roads, shaded by leafy trees and revealing small cottages and green meadows where horses and cows graze. Those, to me, are the mysterious hedges that hide and give you hint on different stories and other possible endings.
The hedgerows always remind me of the late summer afternoon golden hours, when I usually go picking blackberries with my mum, as every year since I can remember, with the slanting warm light and and my smile that gets more black after every blackberry.
No jam for me this year, mum made preserves for all the family, packing the pantry with jars labeled and sorted by colour: orange apricot, purple plum, blue blackberry.
I used my berries to bake a tart I bookmarked months ago into Super natural every day, by Heidi Swanson, well known for her blog, 101 cookbooks. The cake is real and hearty, has an intense flavour enhanced by the whole wheat and the natural cane sugar and a soft macaroon filling, dotted by juicy blackberries.
Super natural every day. I only made a few recipes from the book so far but each and every recipe has fulfilled all my expectations: Heidi takes you by the hand and guides you throughout the steps. All the recipes I made have the same effect on me: they make me feel good, healthy, natural and full of energy.
- The most classic: make a jam! what summer would it be without blackberry jam?
- Blackberries for the winter: rinse them, pat them dry and freeze the best and juiciest berries for the cold season. You can store them in a plastic bag in your freezer and bring back summer to life in a few minutes, even during the long winter evenings.
- 170 g (1½ cup) white whole wheat flour
- 60 g (3/4 cup) unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 106 g (3/4 cup) sifted and lightly packed natural cane sugar
- scant ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 140 g (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 140 g (2 cups) unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 70 g (1/2 cup) sifted and lightly packed natural cane sugar
- 4 large eggs white
- 225 g fresh blackberries, halved
- 45 g (1/3 cup) pistachios, crushed*
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C with a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Butter a 20cm by 28cm tart pan (I used two 10cm by 30cm tins) and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- To make the crust, in a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut, sugar and salt.
- Stir in the melted butter and mix until dough is crumbly but no longer dusty looking.
- Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan (it should form a solid, flat layer). Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the coconut macaroon filling by combining the coconut, sugar, and egg whites. Mix until well combined.
- Evenly distribute the blackberries across the tart base.
- Now drop little dollops of the macaroon filling over the tops of them and mush and press the coconut topping around into the spaces behind the berries.
- Be sure to let at least some of the colorful berries pop through for visual flair.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peaks of the macaroon filling are deeply golden brown.
- Let the tart cool, then garnish with the crusted pistachios before slicing into small squares.
So far, this is one of my favourite tart ever, due to my newly born love for wholesome food and fruity cakes, but obviously I’m not the first one to find it mouthwatering and a perfect treat during the day. You can find other versions of this tart:
- on Smitten Kitchen, another blog I read always with pleasure, mostly for their philosophy: I think food should be accessible, and are certain that you don’t need fussy foods and/or pretentious ingredients to cook fantastically.
- at Helene’s Sweet Tartelette, as always, masterfully made with another recipe from the book, a salad of shaved fennel
- and how not to mention another macaroon tart baked by Heidi on her blog, 101 cookbooks, made with fresh cherries instead of blackberries (recipe to bookmark for the next cherry season, even though, what about sour cherries in syrup?)