This time was no different. When she arrived, her bags were bursting at the seams. She brought with her berries and currants. Zucchini and cantaloupes. I loved seeing the layers upon layers of gems that slowly came out of her suitcase. My heart was giddy and my brain throbbed with menu plans.
To fill her days, we would go for a swim to cool down. Of course, a popsicle had to follow. She loved having us devour melon with sea salt and nibble on cherries. She beckoned us for picnics under the shade. My most favorite thing about her though is the visitors she brought with her. Whilst she was here, my nieces visited. Then there was Akber's brother. Finally, friends from far away graced our humble abode.
Every morning, she welcomed us with beams of golden light darting through the lace curtains. Every morning.....without fail. Even when she was sad, she never threatened rain. She was our alarm clock to wake, our cue to put the kids to sleep when she set.
Towards the end, she unraveled treasures of ripened peaches, dusky plums. We ate them over the kitchen counter, their juices trickling down our elbows. Then, unashamedly, we licked our elbows. She didn't judge. Just when we thought that was the last of her bounty, she surprised us with one last present. Little nuggets of sweetness. In different shades of red, ruby, crimson. Tomatoes. We made soups, roasted them with honey, ate them as is.
This time though, She behaved and didn't outstay her welcome. Gave us enough to savor but also had us begging for more. So until next time. Summer......we will miss you. But before she bid us adieu, she let us in on a little secret.
'Shortly, someone very special will visit you- her name is Autumn. Someone that will bring you the smells of fall, cinnamon and nutmeg. She will have boxes upon boxes of apples and pears. She will entice you to wear your best angora sweaters and to dance to the pitter patter of gentle rain. You will know she is here when you see an envelop of fog in the morning.
Don't forget to make her a warm cup of flavored tea when she arrives. And in exchange she will lay a carpet of leaves for you- rusty shades of orange and red to thank you with. However, don't be so fickle and forget me. I am sure to return. As I always do, year after year.'
We will miss you Summer. You are always welcome, anytime.
Blackberry Custard Tarts
Blackberry Custard Tarts
200 gms butter, room temperature
100 gms sugar
300- 350 gms all purpose flour
300ml double cream
1/4 cup + 1 tbs sugar
3 egg yolks, lightly whisked
1 vanilla bean, deseeded and stick discarded
1/2 cup blackberries, halved
To make tart bases, cream the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment on your mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in 300 grams of flour. If the mixture doesn't clean the sides of the bowl, keep adding more flour a tablespoon at a time until it does. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Grease your tart bases and roll out the tart dough using minimal flour to a 1/4 inch thickness. Fill the tart bases and use your fingers to mould tart dough into shape. Pierce the tarts with a fork and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
In the mean time, make the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together until incorporated. Fill tart shells and with custard filling and place 5-6 blackberry halves into each tart. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until custard is set.
Can be eaten immediately but we refrigerated ours and ate them cold.
Filling enough for 8 tarts. Leftover dough can be frozen