I drove around for 30 minutes trying to find a parking spot so I could exchange my cherry pitter, which breaks like clockwork every year. I'd had the pitter in my car for days, and it kept giving me that look. You know, the one that says, "Exchange me now, or cherry season will be over, and then you'll NEVER get to make a cherry pie. Loser."
But I waited until Sunday. I mean, how low priority is returning a cherry pitter?
Sunday is the worst day to run errands in Los Gatos, because everyone and their bike-riding, latte-sipping, flip-flop wearing cousin heads to the bustling farmers' market. I usually go to the one closer to home in San Jose but figured I'd kill two birds with one stone: stock up on cherries, exchange the pitter.
IF I'd gotten a parking space. Which I didn't.
After 30 minutes, I gave up.
But that's okay! It's errand day! And I needed a car wash anyway.
Line. Big line. Really big line. I probably wasted $50 in gas just idling my engine. I waited. And waited. And waited. And then... screw it, I gave up.
Now before we talk about how offensive it is to complain about such trivialities in the face of larger world problems, let me say that I'm the first to agree. You can go there if you want to, but I've been. It's shameful to lose perspective and let life's insignificant mishaps get you down. But somehow they did anyway. I'm sorry. And I'll strive to be a better person. I really will.
(No, I'm seriously serious.)
On my way home, thwarted, cherry-less, pitter-less, and in a filthy, pollen-covered car, I made a quick swerve, deciding at the last minute to hit the farmers' market closer to home. MY farmers' market. The one with Donna, the artichoke lady. The one with the guy who, every July, bellows, "Fresh corn! Sweeter than my mother-in-law!" I had 5 minutes before the market closed.
And guess what? I was so late, it was so close to quitting time, that the farmers were practically giving away their wares. Raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries sold for $1 a basket, a third their normal price. I went ballistic. In that single moment, my frustration at having my Sunday foiled by stupid errand-related mishaps coalesced into one big berry-buying bonanza. I was on FIRE.
My car's still an abomination. My cherries have pits. But I have a bounty of berries, and a whole lot of perspective on my very fortunate existence.
Recipe for Raspberry-Cardamom Tart in a Cocoa Crust
The hint of cardamom in this recipe is just that -- a little whisper. I find it adds a subtle and exotic note to the cream and a depth to the chocolaty flavor in the crust. That said, if you don't have it, the tart will taste just as lovely. Thanks to Alice Medrich, again, for inspiring this crust. A non-chocolate, non-cardamom version of it appears in her cookbook, Bittersweet.
For the crust:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon (unsweetened) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the filling:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2-1/2 to 3 cups fresh raspberries
honey, for drizzling
One 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the melted butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl. Lightly stir in the flour, cocoa, and cardamom. Do not overmix. (The dough will look and feel very soft.) Dump the dough into the tart pan and, using the pads of your fingers, press it smoothly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan, into the little flutes. Try to press it as evenly as possible. Thin spots will turn brittle and burn, so work slowly and deliberately.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the crust feels firm to the touch. Cool completely in the tart pan on a wire rack (about 20 minutes) before starting the filling.
To make the filling: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the cream on high speed for about 15 seconds, then add the sugar and cardamom. Continue whipping for about a minute longer, or until soft-medium peaks form and the cream just clings to the whisk. Spread lightly into the cooled crust.
Top with your bounty of raspberries, and drizzle with honey.