Driving windows down with a mason jar of water sloshing on the floor of the car. Avocado peels in the cup holder. Cool blue streets running alongside the beach half veiled in sand. Edging into evening, the moms pushing strollers, the runners, the surfers with wet suits peeled down around their waists go periwinkle and dusky violet. We roll down through Sandbridge, waves crashing to our right, frogs creeking to our left, and pull into the cement driveway my dad put in ten years ago. Here we are, sitting in the front seat and looking out at the now-giant crepe myrtle that stands guard outside of the front porch; We’re breathing in smells of ocean and bay bushes and juniper trees.
You know when you come back to a place you’ve spent so much time in and realize that you never saw it before? Every year that I come back to this beach house it’s like I become more aware of its strange salty loveliness; its coziness and its sense of relaxed adventure.
Even if you’re just grilling some peppers on the porch or sitting on a dune watching sea grass whirl there’s something sweet, even emotive, in the slow movements. Something orchestral in the birds flirting with the phone lines and the spiders making homes in the spaces between cactus spine and flower. Pretty, how the gravel sticks to the bottom of your feet, the dog dips her front paws in briny mud, the edge of your pants get trailed with wet sand. That which is normally ugly becomes dipped in an early Summer glow.
And of course, there’s the heartless and untamed Great Dismal Swamp, swallowing up all of the sweet just-born things and releasing wild matured beauty into this small world. Red winged blackbirds, water moccasins, muskrats, box turtles, osprey, all kinds of insects and arachnids: winging or plopping or buzzing or slipping along the algae-cuffed back bay. Wild Boar and wild horse coexist with the heron and goose. Snake forever the silent ruler of these canals.
Today is our last day in this micro-environment until September. I figured I would share this special recipe with ya’ll as a way to celebrate how thankful I am to have known this place, now and then, and be able to return however infrequently.
This tart is, despite the many elements, rather easy to make. In fact, the crust is the only baked element so it’s not so harsh to make as we meet Summer’s heat once more. I chose to make my own tahini as I had some back stock of sesame seeds I’ve been meaning to use up (it’s really easy, here’s a great tutorial if you’d like to make your own). My tahini was a touch dryer than most of the stuff you get in shops (I added less oil as I was processing it to get that consistency). If you have a very wet tahini, I would add a couple of tablespoons of almond meal or oat flour at a time until you get it to your preferred thickness.
- 1.5 cups oat flour (I just ground whole oats in a food processor until fine)
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ cup kefir (goat, cow, coconut all work)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 recipe mint ganache
- 2 cups tahini
- 4 tbsp maple syrup, agave, or honey
- ⅛ tsp salt (if your tahini is unsalted)
- 3 cups fresh raspberries
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Line the bottom of a springform pan with a round of parchment paper.
- Add oat flour, chia, and salt to the bowl of a Cuisinart.
- Add 3 tbsp coconut oil and pulse to combine.
- While the blade is running, add kefir and maple syrup.
- Combine until dough forms a ball in the processor.
- Remove dough ball from processor, and press into the bottom of your springform pan evenly.
- Bake 10-15 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Melt mint ganache in a double boiler, bain marie, or in a glass bowl over boiling water.
- Set aside.
- Combine tahini, maple syrup, and salt (if your tahini is unsalted).
- Set aside.
- Once your crust is completely cool, remove it from your springform pan and transfer it to a plate.
- Carefully peel away the parchment paper from the bottom of your crust.
- Spread melted ganache over your crust.
- Cool in your refrigerator at least 10 minutes to help the ganache set.
- Spread tahini over the layer of chocolate.
- Arrange raspberries over your layer of tahini.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Decorate with fresh flowers or powdered sugar.