Recently, my little ones and I had an opportunity to travel and see family. Time with loved ones is cherished and seems to pass too quickly. While visiting, I made an observation. There are several trees in my folk’s yard that we planted as children. My favorites are the willow trees. This visit, they displayed noticeable growth indicative of trees, no longer saplings.
Since I have not stayed long enough in one place the last 10 years to observe nature’s progression, this observation of the trees was an impactful experience. I was struck with an awe of nature’s cadence. Well into adulthood, the marching of seasons has taken on the perspective of occurring at a rapid pace. The ripple of years has become a more visible breathing of nature. The rough intricacies of nature’s pattern provide a certain comfort and joy – perpetual and dependable.
While on the journey of eating fewer processed foods, I’ve been more attentive to what the earth provides in seasons. Eating the bounty of each season draws us into the cadence of Mother Earth. There is something deeply beautiful about this concept.Conscious eating is an extension of conscious living.
Peaches are rich with flavor, right now. This tart was inspired by my hope of making berry jam from the fleeting summer supply. The smashed raspberry layer is reminiscent of jam. No refined sugar here, the fruit layers are sweetened with honey. Topping with sliced peaches allows the star of the dessert to shine. These peaches were bursting with flavor.
I will leave you with the encouragement to live present, playful and peaceful days. Hopefully your present or near future will include enjoying late summer harvests that bring you true bliss. If you get the chance to make this tart, be sure to drop me a line and share your results on social media with MamaSparrow tagged.
Peach Raspberry Honey Tart
Wheat shortcrust with fresh smashed raspberries and honey drizzled prime season peaches. Enjoying the late season berry bounty, this tart is summer on a plate.
1 cup whole wheat flour
⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar*
10 Tbs butter**
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (add a little more cornstarch if using frozen berries)
2 Tbs honey
1 Tb flour
1 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb lemon zest (zest from one lemon)
Stone Fruit Topping
3 medium/large peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
More honey to drizzle over top
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix together the flours and powdered sugar. Slowly add in the butter while mixing. Use a pastry blender or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Blend until the dough forms together.
Press the dough out by hand in a 9 inch round pie pan lined with parchment paper or tart pan. Sometime I like to make rustic free-hand formed tarts. Use fork to prick several holes in the bottom of the crust that will be covered with filling later. Place pressed out crust into the refrigerator for 5 minutes to help the butter in the crust keep shape. Bake the crust alone for 15 minutes or until crust is firm on the outside and slightly puffed.
Place ingredients for berry layer in a small bowl, mixing them together. Set the bowl aside while slicing the peaches.
Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Spread the berry layer evenly over the prebaked crust. Arrange the peach slices over the berry layer. Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the peaches are fork tender. Drizzle honey over the tart while still warm. Enjoy either warm or room temperature. Store at room temperature for a day or a couple of weeks in the freezer.
*to make refined sugar free, use coconut sugar ground to powder in a food processor
**to make dairy free & soy free, use Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks or your other favorite alternative
I have a spicy confession to make. Are you ready for it?
Cardamom spice is my new love. It has been added to most of the baked goods I’ve made the last few months.
Anyhow…the weather has been so hot and humid lately that today’s moderate weather felt surprising. We also spotted some fallen leaves this afternoon. Gasp. I cannot believe that summer has so quickly neared the end.
This is the first year we are prepping back to school things for our oldest’s first day of school. Another kind of turn in seasons. It seems like crazy talk when one’s babies are little and other parents say, “it goes so fast.” With little ones, each day seems an eternity. Now I understand “the days are long, but the years are short.”
Because I am not ready for this change in seasons, I am sharing a blooming cookie recipe with you. These spiced shortbreads with earl grey cream were one of those happy kitchen accidents. I tossed some spice in my cookies. While prepping the cookies I was savoring a spoon of lemon earl grey cream.
The flavors were perfect together, these cookies were born and I am urging to make a batch this weekend. In fact, don’t even wait till the weekend. Drop everything and run to the kitchen now. Then be sure to drop me a line and share your results on social media with MamaSparrow tagged.
Spice Shortbread Cookies
Peppery butter cookies with cardamom deepened flavor - hint of honeyed floral.
10 minPrep Time
13 minCook Time
23 minTotal Time
1 stick butter
3 Tbs granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 ⅛ cup all purpose flour
In a medium bowl, cream the butter with the first 3 Tbs of granulated sugar. Blend in the vanilla extract, black pepper, and cardamom. Mix in all the flour just until dough forms. Use hands to form dough into a log shape. Cover or wrap the dough and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Once dough has chilled you can either cut cookie rounds directly from the cookie log or roll the dough out with a rolling pin and cut with a cookie cutter.
Place cookies 1-2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes just until they set. Allow to brown lightly on the edges.
Tips for Cutting Cookies
Log cut: if dough is firm enough, simply cut with a butter knife creating 1/4 inch thick cookie rounds. If dough is on the softer side, use a 6 inch piece of plain dental floss to cut the rounds. Slide the floss under the log about 1/4 inch in from the end. Grip each end of the floss. Cross your hands in opposite directions over the dough to create a "cut." Repeat until all dough has been cut into cookie discs.
Not only is earl grey satisfying as a cup of hot tea. It is incredibly tasty when paired with lemon in food. I enjoy typing questions into a google search just to see the results. Recently I typed, “why is earl grey and lemon so good together”. An astounding number of pages filled with lemon earl grey recipes flooded by results page. So, if you are also a fan of this combo, you will be pleased to know there are many explored culinary treats to be found.
Today, I am adding one more lemon earl grey goody to the list – lemon earl grey curd. I have been dying to share this recipe with you. I urge you, I implore you….make this cream. It will change your life.
Lemon Earl Grey Curd
Zesty sweet lemon curd infused with earl grey tea
6.25 TB unsalted butter, softened
12.5 grams or 9 tsp loose leaf tea
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed + 2 TB
1 ⅜ cup sugar or 1 ¼ cup honey
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
In a saucepan, melt just until it becomes liquid. Mix in the tea leaves. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve squeezing the tea leaves to release as much butter as possible. Set butter aside till it comes to room temperature.
Cream the butter and honey together in a stand mixer. Add the eggs and egg whites one at a time mixing well. Blend in the salt. Slowly add the lemon juice as the mixer is going.
Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with about an inch of water. Place the mix in a stainless steel bowl that will fit atop of the saucepan or leave in your stand mixer’s stainless steel bowl. Bring the water in the saucepan to a simmer. Place the stainless steel bowl with the mixture atop the simmering saucepan. Constantly stir* mixture until the honey or sugar is completely incorporated and the curd thickens. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from heat and place on a hot pad holder. Continue stirring the mix for several more minutes as it cools. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.
Your curd will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week and in the freezer for 1 month.
*Note about stirring
Stir constantly. Use a spoon or spatula. Avoid using a whisk as that would create air in the mixture.
**Dairy Free Option:
Substitute the butter with Earth Balance soy-free vegan "buttery" sticks.