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Really Easy Mulberry Tarts for Tired People

This morning, I was awakened by a nice woman screening resumes.  Talked with her for a bit, but won't hear back right away as to whether I'm on the interview list because she's on vacation next week.  (I'm glad I can wake up fast, otherwise sleeping on my preferred schedule while job hunting would be a bad thing).  Then I read LJ, did some writing and some market research, and submitted a short story and a couple of poems, hoping I'm not just adding to my collection of rejection slips.  Did a bit of picking up, folding laundry, and the like.

Then My Angel and I went out in the garden to water things, and weed, and set some more tomato stakes.  A bunch of my tomato plants now have small green globes on them, and the largest cabbages are starting to curl their leaves into a proper ball-like shape.



You may remember, back when I thought I might be able to sell this house to the grandson of the guy who used to own it, I'd moved the flats of seedlings outside, in lieu of actually planting them.  And then we had an unseasonably late frost, and it killed all the nice baby plants.  I found this to be more than a little depressing, so I left the flats outside in a corner of the yard, ignored except to note occasionally that they were now growing weeds.  Well, today I was walking by there to go see My Angel's hosta garden, and I found that not all the seeds that sprouted after the frost were weeds!

So I have another broccoli plant!  It's in a container that I planted beans in, so I don't know which variety of broccoli it is, but still--bonus!

I had an idea where to put it, but found a volunteer squash plant there (another bonus, if it doesn't get that white-dust fungus on it), so I put the broccoli next to the volunteer tomato plant I found in the compost last week.  I was going to share a picture of it in its new spot with you, but apparently I didn't save the photo to my phone.  *grumble*  Oh, well, have a picture of mulberries instead!



You knew I had to get to the mulberries, right?

So, if you've never picked mulberries, the key to picking really sweet berries is to barely touch them.  Seriously.  You put your basket (I've been using the plastic thingies blueberries come in) under it, put a finger on each side, and kind of hint at them that they might want to leave the tree.  If a berry takes the hint, it's fully ripe, and very sweet.  But be warned--they can look ripe, but still be sour!  However, you have to tug at them a bit (not a lot) to separate them from the tree when that's the case. 

Once picked, you can simply pop them in your mouth, and many of our berries end up that way.  Oh, and you can eat the little stem.  Hmm...make that you should eat the little stem, unless you want mashed berries and berry stains!  Trust me, the juice is much tastier on your tongue.

But today, we had most of a pint that had been picked a couple days ago, and mulberries are fragile.  Even with our wonderful new refrigerator, it was time to eat them. or risk having to donate them to the compost pile.  Not having enough for a pie, I decided we could make tarts.  But we were tired, and not up for anything fussy or complicated.  So I got some pudding (the store was out of vanilla, so I got tapioca), some pie dough, and some heavy cream. 

Really Easy Mulberry Tarts

Berries
Pie dough    (you can make your own, it will taste better but not be "really easy" any more)
Vanilla or Tapioca Pudding or Custard  (ditto as to making your own)
Heavy Cream
Confectioner's Sugar (to taste, if desired)

Put the pie dough into muffin tins to make cups  (you can fold the edges over and flute them, but it's not necessary, and not easy)
Bake as per directions, and cool.  I found the cooling takes about a minute once they're out of the muffin tin.
Scoop custard into the cups, and add berries. 
Whip the cream, adding confectioner's sugar to the cream if you want to add a little sweetness. 
Put the whipped cream on top, and add whatever berries fell to the sides while filling the tarts.  (Of course, you could reserve the prettiest ones for the top, if you've got company, but the emphasis today was on easy.  I could have picked some mint leaves as a garnish for the plate too, had beauty been the primary goal.)

If you don't eat them all, they need to be stored in the fridge, which will make the shells less crisp.  However, the shells can be stored separately if not filled, so if that matters to you, only fill the ones you're ready to eat, and then put the makings (everything but the shells) in the fridge for later.

     Yum!

P.S.  I won't listen to folks that tell me that beating the cream by hand negates the "really easy" part!  That pre-fizzed white-stuff-in-a-can is NOT the same, and Miracle Whip is a heresy!

P.P.S.  More of Fireborn tomorrow!

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