Hitting the Goblin Market
While it’s not something typically associated with life in Miami, poetry – read, written, spoken – is very much part of the city’s DNA. Every April the O, Miami poetry festival makes it their goal that every person in Miami will encounter a poem at some point in the month. It might pop-up on a prescription bottle or out of a vending machine, go underwater at the Standard Hotel or float through the canals of Coral Gables, get written across a cocktail napkin or the sand, be spotted in a picket line or from the window seat of a Miami bound airplane. If this seems unlikely, bear in mind that kids here learn to recite José Martí along with their ABCs.
With the festival wrapping up and everyone feeling pretty well-versed in verse, poetry became the theme for a small (completely unaffiliated) get together with friends. Everyone was asked to bring a poem that mattered to them, but my own plan was to bake a poem and eat the words. I was inspired by Poetic Consumption, a dinner I’d attended the week before where Brooklyn chef Evan Hanczor set 5 courses to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons at a Little Farm House in Little Haiti. There was a winding river, tropical trees strung with lights, a rescued goat named Phoebe, and a pig named Rebecca doing time for bad behavior. It was lovely.
I chose Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market. Partly because I’ve always loved it, partly because I wanted to make a tart, and partly because it was so long there was almost no chance anyone would make me read it aloud. What I didn’t expect was how the poem would color everything I did that week. Wether I was working towards a deadline, meeting a friend, or just being – I kept hearing the goblins refrain – “come buy, come buy” – while figuring out what to make of it all.
There was no question which tart recipe I wanted to use. I’ve been going back to the apricot crumble tart recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen since I first made it last year. For the filling, my mind was stuck on the line – “Apricots, strawberries;- All ripe together, In summer weather”. I’ve been obsessed with Florida strawberries which were easy enough to find – sweeter, redder, better – but knew it was too early for apricots. Deciding it had to be apricot season somewhere, I hit three different markets to no avail. Like the goblins in the poem, they’d disappeared on me when I was most desperate to find them. I stopped looking when I found a stand full of early Florida peaches instead – local, seasonal, sensible.
When it came time to serve, I thought the tart would be enough but ended up having to read a few stanzas – mostly the part where the goblins are luring Laura and Lizzie to the market with their “Lemons and oranges, Plump unpacked cherries, Melons and raspberries, Bloom-down-cheeked peaches, Swart-headed mulberries….” I’d only picked a couple of fruits from the long list, but reading them aloud, it was as though you could taste all of them at the same time.
I thought it was all over then, this past weekend, I stopped by my usual farmer’s market and there they were – a whole crate of apricots – as though they’d been there all along.
David Lebovitz’s Apricot Crumble Tart/Tarte Crumble Aux Abricots
Though I swapped the apricots for peaches and strawberries, I wanted to print the original recipe because it’s a great one to have on hand for the summer. I used 1½ pounds ripe, fresh peaches, pitted and diced combined with ½ pound ripe strawberries to make the tart and it worked really well with the almond crumble topping. Leibovitz warns that the twice-baked crust may seem too dark but it’s perfectly fine. In reality, the crust becomes almost candy-like so it’s actually much, much better than fine.
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85g) unsalted butter, chilled
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1¼ cups (175g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
¾ cup (75g) whole almonds
½ cup (70g) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (60g) packed light-brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 pounds (900g) ripe, fresh apricots, pitted and quartered (see header note)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
To make the dough, remove the butter from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you plan to use it and let if soften slightly in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed just until no visible lumps of butter remain. Add the egg yolks, then the flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together. (You can also make the dough in a bowl using a spatula and a little moxie.)
Coat the bottom and sides of 9- to 10-inch (23 to 25 cm) springform pan with nonstick spray. Use the heel of your hand to press the dough over the bottom of the pan, and a little less than halfway up the sides. Try to get the bottom as even as possible, not because anyone will see it, but so it bakes evenly. Put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
To make the crumble topping, pulse the almonds, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are broken up into very small pieces. Add the butter and pulse; after a few moments, the mixture will look sandy. As you continue to pulse, pieces will just start clumping together. Stop pulsing at that point and chill the crumble topping. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the crumble topping by chopping the almonds finely and mixing the topping with a pastry blender or by hand.)
Preheat the oven to 375º F (190º C).
Line the chilled tart crust with aluminum foil and cover with a layer of pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights, and then bake for 5 to 10 minutes more, until the tart shell is browned. Remove from the oven.
To make the filling, in a bowl mix the fruit with the sugar, cornstarch, and the extracts. (Do not make the filling too far in advance because the fruit may become too juicy.)
Transfer the filling to the tart shell and even it out. Strew the crumble topping evenly over the filling. Bake the tart for 50 minutes, until the crumble topping is nicely browned. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, then run a knife around the outside of the tart to separate it from the pan. Let rest for 30 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform and let the tart cool. The edges may look rather dark, but should taste fine, not burnt. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.
Serves 8 to 10
Reprinted with permission from My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2014) Photographs copyright © 2014 by Ed Anderson.