The older I get the more I realize why an appreciation of beauty so often seems to deepen with age. We’re increasingly exposed to pain, grieving feels like a constant, disasters and wretched acts committed against other humans are impossible to ignore. Images from horrific atrocities are seared into our mind. We are not sheltered in the cocoon of youth and nobody reading this is living on the shores of Walden Pond. Sometimes all we can do is retreat for a day or two and surround ourselves with images of hope.
Hi! Welcome to September! I’m obviously feeling cheerful.
I experienced a few (relatively minor) traumas this summer, the one I wrote about earlier, and another that happened in the past few weeks that I won’t share about in detail here, but indelibly left it’s mark. I was very scared and immediately realized that feeling safe in your shelter is a privilege not to be taken for granted. Thankfully, a strong antidote was already built into our schedule. Two nights camping on San Juan Island, a retreat I can count on.
It seems to me that counteracting the weight fear can bring to our lives is best done by pursuing love, gratitude and beauty, so I gravitate to them with increasing necessity. The delight of picking blackberries off bushes near our campsite, the smiles on my boys faces while they played with a never-before-seen furry friend, the joy of watching my youngest run without ceasing to keep his kite up, the excitement while spotting porpoises and harbor seals, the satisfaction of cooking over a fire. These moments brought peace.
This tart happened to be in the house before we left to camp, during the time we were feeling quite vulnerable. Having something delicious to consume and share in the middle of a fearful time was a gift. A little one, of a comforting and delicious sort. It’s one I provided myself without even knowing it was going to be needed. I encourage you make something and share it with someone you know who is going through a hard time. Maybe it’s you. Pick or buy some berries before the season is over. Some for yourself, some to share. Sometimes we just have to take care of each other one tart slice at a time.
- From Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day
- Serves 8-16, depending on the generosity of the slicer
- 1 1/2 cups / 6 oz / 170 g white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry or spelt flour)
- 3/4 cup / 2 oz / 60 g unsweetened finely shredded coconut*
- 3/4 cup / 3.75 oz / 106 g lightly packed natural cane sugar
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 10 tablespoons / 5 oz / 140 g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups / 5 oz / 140 g unsweetened finely shredded coconut*
- 1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g lightly packed natural cane sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 8 ounces / 225 g fresh blackberries, halved
- 1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g pistachios, crushed
Preheat oven to 350℉ / 180℃ with a rack in the middle. Butter an 8×11-inch / 20cmx28cm tart pan (or equivalent- mine is a 9-inch round tart pan) and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper to make easy release of the tart.
For the crust, combine the flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix until the dough is crumbly. Firmly press it into the prepared pan, forming a solid, flat layer. (This part is fun! Messy fingers!) Bake for 15-minutes or until the crust is barely golden. Let it cool for a few minutes before filling it.
Prepare the filling by combining the coconut, sugar and egg whites. Mix until combined. Lay the blackberry halves on the tart base. Drop dollops of the filling around and over the tops of the berries, filling in the spaces around them and covering some up.
Bake for 20 to 25-minutes, until the filling peaks are deeply golden. Let the tart cool, then sprinkle the crushed pistachios over the top. Slice & serve!
*I used medium shred and it was delightfully sufficient.
** This tart works well with other fruit as well. Cherries and pistachios? You bet.
(Those connected to my personal account on facebook may have noticed that I deleted it because of what happened. My apologies that I could not leave up my notice long enough for everyone to see, but we felt the incident warranted a speedy deletion. Those without my personal email address may feel free to contact me via this blog’s facebook page message board. I will try to be in touch with many of you in other ways, too. For now, I am finding I really enjoy being off facebook, so I may not return to having a personal site. Email and phone are now the best way to contact me.)