Growing up, we used to pick wild mulberries. The dark mulberries ripened to their juicy capacity and fell on the pavement, painting the sidewalks purple. This was nature’s graffiti and we were young urban foragers. Just below Chicago’s purple EL line, we thought the forest preserve was our Jungle Book fantasy and we ate from the trees along the canal. From the early months of spring to late summer, we would bring pots and buckets home with red-stained fingers.
We ate every shade of red mulberry until our lips were purple and stomach’s sour. We picked so much that we were left with no choice to boil them into a mulberry jam. The berries always tasted better straight from the tree but the syrupy preserve on toast or over yoghurt made the season of red mulberries last.
Today, the mulberry tree keeps painting me purple and I get to try new and old recipes that transform a harvest into nourishing treats. Springtime in Johannesburg brought all these childhood memories back, getting sugar high from trees and overdosing on the tart ruby mulberries. As if the sweetness from the harvest wasn’t enough, I made a mulberry tart from an adapted recipe I learned while managing the kitchen and guest lodge of Los Cardones surf eco-lodge and restaurant on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. This tart has been loved by many! Pass on the joy:
Stauder French Tart Recipe
Preheat oven to 350F/180C
2 egg yolks
8 TB sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sifted flour
1 bar softenedd butter
Mix butter, sugar and salt. Add eggs and mix in flour. Mold to a tart pan and poke with a fork. Store in fridge while you prepare filling.
2 egg whites
8 TB sugar
1 bar melted butter
1/2 cup mulberries (smashed)
Mix egg whites, sugar and butter together. Add in fruit.
Take crust out of the fridge and pour fruit filling into chilled tart mold. Bake until crust is golden brown. Let it cool for 30 minutes before serving.
This easy recipe can be adapted into any ready available fruit you want to make into a desert (or breakfast treat.) Some versions we tried and loved: dragonfruit-pitaya, kalala-passion fruit-grenadilla, lemon, orange, banana, and pineapple.