My late Grandma Ruth was an incredible traveler, and a terrible, terrible cook. She took to traveling quite late in her life, not having the funds or freedom to do so earlier. But once she stepped onto her first airplane bound for outside the US borders, the woman could not be stopped. My mother says she was the type of person that ‘always had a suitcase packed’, ready for the next adventure. Her sense of adventure was unprecedented, especially considering she was well into her 50’s before she begun.
When it came to the kitchen however, Grandma Ruth could cook a total of three things well; Lime Green Gelatin with Sour Cream & Pineapple (if that was your sorta thing- very retro), Stuffed Cabbage, and Cheesecake. Otherwise she made excellent reservations.
Grandma Ruth passed away when I was only sixteen years old, not yet old enough to be able to take advantage of myriad of invitations she offered to be her travel companion, a la Amy in Little Women. But I like to think I’ve inherited her love of travel anyhow (and hopefully not her cooking skills!).
Last weekend, after things turned from bad to ugly here in the UK we took a little breather from the noise and retreated to a local pick-your-own-fruit farm, filling up on local strawberries and raspberries (both by bucket and by belly). Then earlier this week when devastating news of life in the US and far too many other places in the world infiltrated the news stream, I actively looked for joyous simplicity to wrap my mind around, unable to grasp the complexity and sadness in the world.
After a little google search I happened upon a very simple Nigel Slater tart recipe, perfect for making use of the abundance of red fruits we had gorged on and then hoarded just days earlier. As I got started putting together all of the ingredients I had the unexpected joy of a food memory I had buried deep within. As I licked the spoon used to stir together the filling of marscapone, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk, I was transported back to childhood, and to the taste of the top layer of my Grandma Ruth’s famous baked cheesecake. Having never learned the recipe all I had left of that piece of Grandma Ruth was a fuzzy memory, not having even thought about that cake in at least a dozen years. Not until right that very moment.
Thanks you to Grandma Ruth (and Nigel Slater) for that wonderfully rooted comfort, delivered in the simplest of recipes. This tart immediately flew to the top of my lists, and is one I will certainly make again, both because of its simplicity to create, and the uncomplicated joy it brought to us.
I didn’t change a single thing from the recipe. You could if you wanted to (adding citrus zest etc.) but I think it is just perfect as it is.