I was quite sure I wasn’t going to have a post ready for this week even though I have wanted to share this mixed berry crumble tart for quite some time now.
We returned from our road trip through the southwest last weekend to the news that my freshman college roommate had passed away. News that was sudden, much too early, and impossibly sad. We fell out of touch after college, but both of us eventually made it back to our hometown of Kansas City. It was her, a friendly high school acquaintance I knew through music ensembles, that had told me late into our senior year about her college plans and future program of study. I was instantly sure I needed to do the same, and although my fall plans were already pretty much set, they changed that day.
We were both southern-bound as college freshman, and since we knew each other well enough, we figured rooming together made the best sort of sense. Two Kansas City girls going far from home. A familiar face and someone to talk to could only help break-in the newness of our impending adulthood.
When you share a room with someone for a year, you really get to know them. Whether you become friends or foes, you know their habits, their dreams, their favorite brand of shampoo. As happens all too often, life took us different places. And except for the occasional Facebook update, I hadn’t seen her until we ran into each other a couple months ago at the grocery store.
We hugged and made a scene and were totally those people that block all the important produce from the other patrons. Updates of our lives interrupted by “excuse me,” “pardon me,” or “I just need to grab some kale.” Always the kale.
As a counselor by trade, I have unfortunately had to work with situations that deal with suicide. It is always difficult and always heart-wrenching, but this one has rocked me in a way I can’t yet explain. I’ve had a hard time getting things done this week, or wanting to, and an overwhelming sadness has my heart heavy.
And while I tend not to write in this space about such serious matters, I felt I’d be remiss in my work as a counselor and as a human being if I didn’t write about my friend and how important a reminder it is to tell those you care for just that—you care. Most of us in the US will be celebrating the long holiday weekend with friends and family, and while I thought I couldn’t possibly talk about this before such a fun occasion, it seems it is both simultaneously never and always a good time to talk about mental health and letting those in your life know you love them whenever you have the chance.
So hug them in the grocery store. Make a scene and block the kale. Listen. Love. xoxo.
- 2¼ cups almond flour
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar + 2 teaspoons
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, halved, and quartered
- 1½ cups fresh blueberries
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot starch or tapioca starch)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut sugar,1 tablespoon of cane sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted coconut oil mixing initially with a whisk and then with your fingers until the mixture form moist crumbs. It will have the consistency of wet sand.
- Place 2¼ cups of the mixture into your prepared tart pan. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Reserve the remaining mixture in a measuring cup.
- Once you have removed the reserved crumb mixture from the bowl, add the strawberries, blueberries, 2 teaspoons cane sugar, and lemon zest. Stir to mix. Using the back of a large spoon, smash about 25% of the berries (blueberries will smash mostly). Add cornstarch and mix again until evenly coated. Transfer berries into the tart crust, spreading them out to make an even layer. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top crumb layer is golden brown. Allow the tart to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing the sides and continuing to cool.
- Once cool, carefully transfer slices of tart to plates and serve with whipped cream or ice cream for an extra treat. Best when served the day it is made.