Twenty years ago when my mum died, friends gave my dad roses and a mulberry tree to plant to remember my mum. Before it died of the neglect that sorrow can bring, I quickly put it in the ground behind the house.
It takes ten years before a mulberry tree will fruit. And to the year this is how long it slowly grew before finally fruiting. For the next ten years it fruited intermittently, grew determinedly, and suffered James’ rather ad hoc attempts at pruning with a hedge trimmer – please don’t say anything about this rather awful moment.
The tree now forms a tunnel that you need to walk through to get from the main campsite field to the back of the house and reception – I like that.
This year, a young blackbird has been sitting in the tree eating each mulberry as it ripens. Then the heatwave of the past couple of days hit and the mulberries ripened in a rush. There were too many for the blackbird to eat all by itself.
So on Sunday, I picked 3 kilos. I froze most of them for future pies, but decided to make this easy tart for dinner as well.
The base is a pate-brisee pastry – half the weight of flour should be butter, add a pinch of salt and a little icing sugar, rub the butter into the flour and then use a little water (and or egg yolk) to bind. Leave to rest before using. I always make twice as much as I need so I can freeze some for future use.
Mulberry Tart: enough pate-brisee pastry to line a 20cm tart tin; half a pot of cream (150ml or a little more), bit of sugar, lots of mulberries.
Roll out the pastry, line a tart tin and pop in the freezer to rest for a while. Fully bake it in an oven at about 180C, let it cool in the tin. Take some of the mulberries and liquidise with some sugar to a puree, pass through a sieve. Whisk the cream and add in the mulberry puree. Allow to chill the spread on the pastry case and top with some whole mulberries.
Picking mulberries makes your hands purple which I think is quite cool
How do you like to eat mulberries?