Seeing familiar faces behind the fruit and vegetables at Allenberg Orchards was like seeing old friends. Except I don’t really know them. Or their names. And I’m not a stalker. Really.
The thing is-when I discovered how wonderful the Kingstowne market is last year, and AO in particular, it made me a little sad to say see you next year when the market season ended. I had come to discover how delicious their cherries and tomatoes are. Plus the peaches were the best I’d ever eaten. I hoarded all those good things and still have some vacuum-sealed in my freezer.
This week, Allenberg made thier 2008 season market debut. Along with yellow and red raspberries, they had sweet cherries and a nice selection of greens (note the signage). I bought up 2 quarts of cherries in my frenzied excitement, only to find that they were not at the peak of ripeness. They’re not bad, just not as sweet as they’re going to get. The raspberries were another story all together. They were perfect without any hint of sourness.
I decided that my preshus berries needed to be frozen right away, lest any of them suffer from compression or exposure or just me picking at them before I could use them in a tart the next day.
First, I needed a tart pan. I don’t own any and usually cheat by using my spring-form pan. But I had perfectly gorgeous berries which needed that perfect crinkle edge that the pan gives. I found tart pans (loads of them) at La Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria. They were actually inexpensive, so I decided to get a large pan, along with 6 individual serving pans. OK, I threw in copper cleaner and a real Microplane microplane (truly, they are the best)for cheese. At that point, Frank looked at me and said “you planned this all along didn’t you? Just a tart pan, eh?”
For my dish, I found Raspberry Tart May on the Food Network site. It got good reviews and was from Gourmet Magazine, and made by Sarah Moulton. I had a feeling it would be a winner.
While the tart was blind baking (oh, by the way…if you don’t have pie weights or spare beans to weigh down the dough, you can use rice) I took the berries out of the freezer to thaw before I used them to top the tart. I used apricot jam to gloss over the top of the tart, because it’s what I had on hand and it worked perfectly.
This tart is like a thin cheesecake with fresh fruit. It’s elegant and easy. Plus, now that I’ve had a test run with it, I’m going to make 2 to take to a 4th of July get-together in my neighborhood. I think I’ll use blueberries and red raspberries for the whole patriotic color scheme thing.
Check out the photos for more information of what was at market and more berries, berries, berries!
Until the next At the Market, eat and buy local when you can.