I belong to the “rather be hot than cold fan club” so the desert is the perfect place for me. Yes, the days are blistering hot, but oh, those summertime nights! They are absolutely one of my favorite things about the desert. It is the only time we can meet with family members after everyone is off work and sit and share dessert at 9:00 at night.
Last night was one of those nights.
It all began with a farmer’s market trip earlier in the day. As my son A.J. and I looked over all the beautiful, fresh produce, we spied the most beautiful array of summertime berries, large ruby raspberries, dark, rich swollen blackberries and perky round blueberries. I could not resist as I imagined them in the wonderful tart my daughter Ali had been after me to make.
Now, we sat, relaxed, and visited over hot cups of coffee and slices of enticing tart. Crisp cookie crust, creamy pastry cream infused with vanilla and a hint of almond, and luscious berries everywhere!
The more I bake, this interesting thing I have learned. I had always believed a dessert was all about the sugar. It’s not so! I agree that the sweet is important and necessary, but a sugary bite is not what truly satisfies. Rather, it is the flavors and textures, as in this tart…the creamy butter that melts, sizzles and dances with the flour and just a tad of sugar in the heat of a very hot oven that crisps the crust, enhanced by the almost unnoticed tartness of the Pomegranate Jelly skimming its surface. It is the richness of the cream followed by the invasion of its delicate silkiness, rounded out with fragrant vanilla boosted by almond, and of course, that pinch of salt that helps tie it all together. Last, but not least, it is the beautiful summertime berries that God himself created that offer the pièce de résistance as they burst in your mouth, each member of the berry trio harmonizing in its own uniqueness to gift a symphony.
One of the greatest rewards of any baker is watching, as I did last night, my family consume their dessert and go back for more. One of the greatest blessings in life is being in the company and conversation of those you love. Last night, I had them both. Oh, those summertime nights!
Photos by: Sara Lucero (my daughter in-law)