Pa rum pum pum …
I once read that the tango is a dance where opposing emotions, like love and hate are inextricably intertwined.
Pa rum pum pum …
Each summer, I engage in what I like to call the Humidity Tango in my very own kitchen. Except there is no love in this tango. There is hate. Lots of it. And frustration. Lots of it. But definitely no love.
Pa ra ra ra ra ra rum pum pum …
Each summer, without fail, I dance the tango of hate with Humidity. For each summer, like a shadow, the Humidity creeps in and settles over the City of Toronto, blanketing everything in its sticky, suffocating self.
You step outside and within seconds your clothes are stuck to you like a second skin. Your hair, no matter what you do to it, settles itself into a massive, unshapely poof. And your useless attempts to sit outside and read, all the while pretending to ignore the soupy air around you, are laughable at best.
Pa rum pum PUM …
But the worst part of the Humidity, is that you simply cannot stand to turn on the oven.
Pa rum PUM PUM …
A bereft Cream Puff, you walk by your little stove everyday and sigh wistfully. To turn it on would be to turn the house into a stifling pit, in spite of the central air conditioning. And all the while you just know the Humidity is laughing at you. You curse. You shake your fist. And then, with shoulders bent, you walk away from the kitchen … beaten.
Pa ra ra ra ra ra rum PUM PUM …
But inevitably, the pendulum shifts. Clouds move in and in the distance you see the lightning and hear the crackle of thunder.
PA RUM PUM PUM …
The blessed storm comes and washes the Humidity away. You can breathe again. And even better … you can bake again.
PA RUM PUM PUM …
You rush like a mad person. Eggs, whisks, flour, bowls … in a frenzied flurry you cram as much baking into one afternoon as humanly possible. And you know that for just a moment, you have won the latest round of the Humidity Tango.
PA RA RA RA RA RUM PUM PUM!
Mascarpone Tart with Berries
Adapted from www.epicurious.com.
While the original recipe for this tart uses a pastry crust, I like to use a crumb crust. I like the way the mascarpone plays off the texture of the graham crumbs. For the original recipe, click here.
For the crumb base:
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter. Combine until all the crumbs are wet and begin to clump together.
- Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. With the back of a spoon or your fingers, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. (I prefer to refrigerate overnight but you don’t have to).
For the tart:
- 1 cup mascarpone, room temperature
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 to 5 cups mixed berries, washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam or jelly
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fruit liqueur (kirsch or cassis are my favourites)
- In a large bowl, mix together the mascarpone, cream cheese, sugars, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if desired.
- Spread the cream over the base of your crust and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In a small pan, combine the jam, water and liqueur. Bring to a boil and stir until you have a smooth mixture. (There may be some lumps if the jam has large pieces of fruit in it.) Once it’s come to a boil, remove from the heat and let cool. Once the mixture has cooled, strain it.
- Combine your berries in a large bowl and pour the strained jam mixture over the berries. Arrange the berries on the cream layer of the tart. Refrigerate until ready to serve.