My friend DB recently gave me some of his amazing strawberry plants since the starters I bought three years ago never produced a single berry. I was hopeful that his would be more successful and they are definitely off to a great start!
The past two weeks were absolutely beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest. While I was on vacation, temperatures soared to 80 degrees and the sun managed to stick around until yesterday. It was a wonderful mini-summer to tide us over until July, when things really heat up in Portland.
Sunshine immediately makes me crave berries which is how this Brown Butter Berry Tart became the finale for my family’s Mother’s Day dinner. The original recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit, called for raspberries, but when I went shopping there was only one lonely container of fresh blackberries left on the shelf. Clearly everyone else in Tacoma had the same idea! (Happily my combination of blackberries and frozen blueberries worked just fine.)
Since I hadn’t seen my family in a month, I wanted to spend my spare time playing rummy with my mom and grandma, not slaving away in the kitchen. Luckily, besides being tasty, this tart is also amazingly simple to put together — though considering how ruthlessly my grandma beat us, perhaps I should have chosen a high-maintenance dessert instead. Then I could still have my dignity. *sigh*
Anyways, on to the sweet stuff –
The alternate title to this post was something along the lines of “the amazingly delicious dessert I could make in my sleep.” It might have been a little wordy (and less punny) but it would’ve been entirely accurate. I have made Food & Wine’s Mixed Berry Spoonbread Cake for family reunions, barbeques, holidays and even (all by myself) for a crowd of 75-plus people at a kind-of-crazy pig roast last summer.
In fact, I had a different dessert all picked out for Easter Sunday (I wanted to try making this Blueberry Slump) but at the last minute, I changed my mind. I didn’t want to take the chance of it being ‘meh.’ Given the rather stressful week, I wanted to make something that I knew everyone would love — and so I turned to my old standby.
There are several reasons why this is my go -to dessert recipe:
There are a few things that I can tell I directly inherited from my mother’s father. My grandfather, who instilled in me a lifelong love for cribbage and a tendency to whistle Red River Valley, also gave me his serious sweet tooth. While I tend to swing more in the tart sour candy territory, I will never turn down a cookie…or cupcake, milkshake or well, anything else. And neither will he. In fact, my stepdad often jokes that if you turn down dessert after dinner saying “I’ll have some later,” there is no guarantee that there will be any left by the time Papa is done.
He even keeps a stash of candy in his dresser drawer so that if the cookie jar in the kitchen ever runs low, he knows the next sugar fix is secure. And even though he hasn’t been able to see for years, he can identify numerous packages of sweets from the shape of the box alone. It’s uncanny — he is practically a chocolate whisperer.