The boys and I woke up early on Saturday morning (more like they woke me up early) and I was thinking about how we wanted to spend our day. The air was cool and the sky clear, I was relived to be at the tailend of a heatwave in Portland. The notion of spending some time outside with this perfect weather sounded wonderful so the boys and I headed off to the berry patch.
The berries were beautiful and just waiting for those sweet little fingers to pluck them from the vines. We were quickly filling up our buckets. The boys were chirping away, racing up and down the rows when we reached a dense thicket of blackberries. It formed a dark canopy to walk under (reminded me of a Tom Robbins novel). The chirping had stopped and hesitation sets in, memories of bee stings and bug bites from earlier this summer settle into their minds. I suggest we venture under and I start off with a little story about two brothers who go adventuring on an island to pick berries. Their reluctance soon fades as they continue on with the story and picking berries. Their story builds into something sweet, the berries are to go to momma to make a pie, tart and maybe some ice cream, then leads to taking a raft down the river to deliver them to me, narrowly escaping Pirates along the way. I'm delighted to be in their story and more delighted at the thought of making them something special.
We head back to the barn to wash blackberry stains from hands and faces, I'm able to buy a large box of peaches and some beautiful veg to pickle. I love driving out to the farms on Sauvie's Island to buy produce, talking with the farmers, getting produce that was just picked that morning or the day before. I couldn't help but notice that although the vines were full with berries, their were no more blossoms. Summer seemed to be winding down and for the first time, time felt a bit fleeting. Such a sweet little moment with my family; what a luxury in life to have this experience and share it with my boys.
Peach and Blackberry Crostata with Cornmeal Crust
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (coarse)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup ice water
Filling and baking
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 large peaches, each pitted and cut into slices
1 1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg beaten to blend (for glaze)
Peach preserves, heated
Combine first 5 ingredients in processor and blend 5 seconds. Add butter, using pulse, blend just until butter is reduced to pea size pieces. Add 1/3 cup ice water. Pulse dough, blend until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap; chill at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)
Roll out dough on lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to 14 inch round, turning dough occasionally to prevent sticking. Slide rimless baking sheet under parchment. Transfer dough on parchment to refrigerator. Chill until dough firms slightly about 20 minutes.
For filling and baking:
Stir sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend. Mix in fruit and vanilla. Let stand until juices are released, stirring fruit occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Transfer baking sheet with dough to work surface. Let stand 10 minutes to allow dough to soften slightly if too firm to fold. Spoon fruit and juices into center of dough. Arrange fruit in even 10 inch diameter layer in center. Brush 2 inch border of dough with egg glaze. Lift about 2 inches of border dough and fold down over fruit (center 6 inches of friut remain uncovered). Brush folded border with egg glaze; sprinkle with raw sugar.
Place baking sheet with tart in oven. Bake until golden brown and friut filling is bubbling at edges, about 55 minutes. Remove from oven; loosen from parchment. Brush friut with preserves. Slide tart onto rack. Cool 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.