I realized today how many kinds of ripe berries there are in the garden and decided to top the tart I was making with some of each: blueberries, strawberries, alpine strawberries, red currants, honeyberries, goumi, red raspberries and black raspberries.
A lot can be grown in a small space by working with microclimates. For instance, the goumi and currant are tucked under a walnut tree, because they are both shade tolerant and okay with the walnut’s chemistry. The blueberries and strawberries are grouped together because they both like acid soil and regular water, plus the strawberries shade the shallow roots of the blueberries.
Some of our berry bushes aren’t mature, so in the future there will also be huckleberries, sour cherries (there is one little cherry this year, I’m hoping a bird doesn’t take it), sweet cherries (there were 4 this year), cranberries and more.
The search for the perfect summer tart is on. I’ve called on Keiko from Ghost House Kitchen blog for help and am looking forward to her ideas. I have a good tart shell recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. So far I’ve been filling in with a no-bake cream from Sunset’s Strawberry Brown Sugar Tart recipe, and topping it with whatever fruit or berries I have on hand. But I would like a more sophisticated filling like a custard. One custard I tried before had quite a bit of corn starch in it which could be tasted in the finished dessert, so a recipe with a small amount or no corn starch would be best.
Keiko suggested I try Clafouti as a easy custard plus fruit dessert. I found recipes in Gourmet, Sunset and my favorite dessert cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. So I will try it on the weekend, maybe one with mixed berries and one with stewed, sweetened rhubarb and lemon.