By Elizabeth Holm
When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, we had about 10 raspberry bushes
in our backyard. I loved the job of picking them because I could eat as I picked.
Fresh raspberries from the bushes tasted like candy. It was particularly exciting when, just as summer was ending, there was an entire second crop of delicious raspberries to pick and eat.
I was back home visiting last weekend, and my brother announced that the fall raspberries were almost in, bringing back all of those memories. Even though it is September, we still get to enjoy nature’s gift of sweetness. Fresh peaches, nectarines and plums can still be found for the next couple of weeks at our local farmer’s markets. You may still find some blackberries, but it’s those delectable raspberries that we find available throughout the fall. Thus, it is not too late to make a beautiful fresh fruit tart.
The health benefits of eating fruit are often overlooked. Meta-analysis of dozens of large studies has found that a greater intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a decrease in overall mortality during the length of the studies.
In essence, people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer. In a large study of Australians, the association was stronger for fruit consumption compared to vegetable intake. This is no surprise, since individual fruits have a variety of phytochemicals, antioxidants and vitamins that help prevent heart disease and cancer.
For example, raspberries contain an exorbitant amount of ellagic acid, a phytochemical that can inhibit cancer cell growth and may prevent a variety of cancers through its anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory actions. They also contain quercetin, a known anticarcinogen, and anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants.
A fresh fruit tart is an incredibly easy and delicious way to eat fruit. This recipe is from my college friend and registered dietitian Connie Miller. Serve it for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack, knowing that it could be extending your life and giving you many more years to enjoy the sweetness of fruit.
Recipe: Fresh Fruit Tart
For the crust
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup butter
For the glaze
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon corn starch
- ¼ tsp. mace
- 2/3 cup orange juice (plus 1 to 2 tablespoon)
- ½ cup red or black currant jelly
- 1 to 2 yellow or white peaches
- 1 to 2 yellow or white nectarines
- 1 to 2 plums
- ½ pint red raspberries
- ¼ pint blackberries
- Combine the flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour/sugar until evenly distributed. Press into a 10-inch tart or springform pan that has been greased or covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Skin the peaches by placing in boiling water for approximately 30 seconds. Rinse in cold water and the skin will slide off. Slice the peaches, nectarines and plums into thin slices.
- Combine the granulated sugar, corn starch, mace, 2/3 cup orange juice and currant jelly in a sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until thick, cooking approximately 2 minutes.
- Spread half of the glaze over the crust.
- Arrange the fruit by overlapping the peach, nectarine and plum slices, starting from the outside edge and ending in the middle. Spread the raspberries and blackberries on top.
- Reheat the remaining glaze and add 1 to 2 tablespoon orange juice to thin. Drizzle over the top of the fruit.
- Chill for 4 to 6 hours. Remove the outer ring of the tart or springform pan. You can leave the tart on the bottom of the pan or slide it off onto a plate to serve.
Elizabeth M. Holm, DrPH, RD is a registered dietitian and nutritionist in private practice in Alexandria. She can be reached at [email protected].