It is such a wonderful privilege to be able to eat fresh fruit grown locally again now that summer is here. In Britain, we're fully enjoying an abundance of locally grown strawberries thanks to a hot spell in April. I have found the little punnets of berries at the farmer's market far exceed the supermarket packaged variety in both taste and color. There's just so much more flavor in the oddly shaped berries! But I'm also excited for blackberry season later this summer - when they start popping up on bushes and brambles in our little village of barnes, we have to hurry and pick some before they're all gone! Speaking of Barnes, I'm very excited for my neighborhood because there are great plans afoot to open up a co-op supermarket this fall (similar to the people's supermarket which opened in central London last year). I'm attending a meeting tomorrow evening where a committee has been gathering weekly, pulling together resources and sharing ideas. If this all goes ahead, it will be a great thing for our village, but also for the wider South West London area, which is being overrun by giant supermarket chains (and their smaller "local" outlets). It seems there is one on every corner these days. So it will be wonderful to turn an empty shop on the high street to a local store selling all the basics as well as organic produce and special items. I plan on getting involved in as many ways as I can - from volunteering time in the store, to cooking up leftover produce, to running classes and talks on food and nutrition. Can't wait!
If you're reading this from the States, and you have a farmer's market or shop that sells locally grown fruit, you're lucky to have access to beautiful ripe peaches this summer. How I wish they could grow peaches and nectarines here (but it's just not the climate, unfortunately). The best we can hope for in the UK is something imported from Europe, but they lack the juiciness and flavor of a warm summer peach like you find in the States.
So, to take advantage of your next basket full of fruit, why not make this tart? It's chilled (because it's raw), which would be perfect on a warm summer evening. And there's no baking required, so it's super simple to prepare. Not to mention - fantastically healthy! It's great on its own, but if you're after a little something extra, dairy-free vanilla ice cream or greek yogurt would do the trick. And to make sure the tart is naturally sweet, go for RIPE peaches - under-ripe fruit will make it sour and, ironically, tart.
Raw Peach Vanilla Tart
Makes one 8" tart
- 2 cups raw almonds (soaked for 30 minutes) or pecans
- 3/4 cup pitted dates (soaked for 30 minutes)
- 4-5 ripe peaches, stones removed, thinly sliced
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean, scraped out from pod
- juice of 1 lemon
- First, prepare the crust by draining the almonds and dates and blitzing them in the food processor. Continue to process until they form a finely ground dough-like substance. Remove and pat into an 8" pie tin (metal or glass).
- Combine the peaches, vanilla seeds, and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture into the pie crust and spread around evenly.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- To serve, slice carefully!