Apricot Almond Tart

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Soon all the summer fruits will have had their fifteen minutes. Strawberries seem like forever ago! All you have to do is go away for a week, and you’ve missed something. I almost missed the elderberries this year, but luckily I now have portions of it’s intensely colored juice mixed with honey from my neighbor’s bees to stave off winter viruses. (The coming winter is predicted to be more of the same as last year. Shiver!)

One of my very favorite fruits to make jam out of is apricots, and I was gone right when they were at their peak. So when I returned, I was on a mission to find the last of this precious bounty! I called a few places I know of to no avail. Finally, I found some! It was the very last case of the very last apricots, probably about 18 pounds of them. I made two large batches of jam for Half-Pint Preserves. My son must have eaten about five pounds all by himself. And the last few I made into this tart. It is incredibly good.

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The original recipe is nothing short of genius. Lazy person that I am, I wanted a tart but didn’t want to make a pie crust. I searched around and found this brilliant recipe for plum almond crustless tart from Kitchen Vignettes. I take no credit for this very easy and very delicious recipe. I only tweaked it a little.  I’ll be making it again soon with plums, but I think I may add a sprinkle of cinnamon so it’s a bit like a German plum kuchen. It works as breakfast with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, but also is an elegant dessert.

Apricot Almond Tart

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, greased well.

2 cups almond flour (or start with raw almonds–about 1 1/2 cups should yield 2 cups flour)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 eggs

1 pound of apricots, pitted and halved

(Optional: 1 tablespoon of sugar to sprinkle on top before baking)

You can use a food processor for this entire recipe. First put the almonds in to finely grind them into flour. Then add the butter and sugar to cream well. Add the flour, the extract and the eggs, pulsing after each addition. Spread batter into pan. Push each fruit half into the batter leaving room between each piece. The pieces can be up or down, or both. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45 minutes.

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Summer’s Wane

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Summer has us firmly in its grip, but still one can’t help but to notice it is on the wane. We are a good ways past the summer solstice and you can see the difference in the evening sky. The days are hot but the morning has a bit of autumnal chill to it. My summer has mostly been about being with my almost seven-year-old son–we don’t do camp, so he’s my full time job. It also happens to be the start of busy season for jam-making and preserving, so my lazy days are punctuated by bits of frenzy, in the small windows where I can do my work.

We have done our fair share of swimming, in the mountains, rivers and streams, a bit in the ocean. Some major milestones were reached: actual swimming! head under the water! riding a bike! It’s all very exciting but it doesn’t leave much for my own projects or creativity. My weekly writing has fallen steeply. This is all fine, because as everyone says, this sweet time will be over in a quick blink of the eye. There will be plenty of time for more canning or learning or career advancement (ha!). I’m not saying I’m always so aware of this wisdom. Sometimes I can be quite the child myself! Writing it down seems to help. One day I’ll long for these days spent reading children’s books over and over, playing Legos, and pretending to be a shark in the water.

In the meantime, as my creativity wanes along with the summer, I am finding inspiration from other places. Here’s some of them:

I had a great time with Eve, who writes the very delicious and detailed blog Garden of Eating, when I had her over for lunch. Check out this post she wrote about a tip I gave her – thanks, Eve! I’m always impressed by her photography, and I always want to eat what she’s eating!

Shae, from Hitchhiking to Heaven, is writing beautiful missives from her travels in Alaska at Fairfax to Fairbanks. I am lost in this in the very best way. I know I’m not the only one!

This had me at the first line of the recipe: “10 cups of gin-soaked black currants.” It’s a recipe for Black Currant Chutney from Marie at 66 Square Feet (Plus), after using the berries for black currant gin. My kind of recipe!

This beautiful photo-heavy post on wild mushrooms from Laura at Glutton For Life had me wishing for rain, as most of our fungi has dried up and disappeared, to return when the time is right. (Did you know Beatrix Potter was a mycologist? I didn’t. Thanks to Brain Pickings this book is now on my to-read list.)

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Just have to note these three best desserts I made this summer:

All-in-One Chocolate Cake from Nigella Lawson. So darn easy and straightforward. See it above. And this tip about putting parchment paper under your cakes in strips so when you are done frosting the plate will be clean was priceless for me, as I am not the best cake maker.

Almond Flour Berry Cobbler from King Arthur. Wow. So good! I made this with peaches and blueberries.

Cherry Bars from The Recipe. Tip o’the hat to Mrs. Wheelbarrow for clueing me in to this one.

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It’s also high pickling season–it’s been cucumberville over here. I’ve been relying a lot on a great book I got in the fall, Fermented Vegetables. The thing I love best about it is how each vegetable is listed in alphabetical order and gives thoughts and recipes on each one, if they are recommended!

I’ve been making lots of that smashed/smacked cucumber salad with the tinier cucumbers in my garden. It’s addictive. I’ve been taking a little from these three recipes and making my own. I hope I get around to writing it down! Here, here and here. If you have a preferred recipe for this, let me know!

Okay, over and out. I’m going deeper still into summer. I hope to see you when I pull myself out!