Monday, April 03, 2006

The Recipe, capital R, from The Best British Mysteries

Well, I haven't finished this short story collection (ed. Maxim Jakubowski, Allison & Busby 2004) yet, but I simply have to post this recipe already. It's from the very first story of the book (and I've been thinking about this tart while reading all the rest...), Martha Grace by Stella Duffy.

She will make him a deep tart of black berries and melted chunks of bitter chocolate, imported from France, ninety per cent cocoa solids. She starts early in the day. Purest white flour mixed in the air as she sifts it with organic cocoa so perfect that her pastry is almost black. Then the fruit - blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, blackcurrants - just simmered with fruit sugar and pure water over the lowest of heat for almost two hours until they are thick syrup and pulp. She skims the scum from the surface [...]

And then she adds poison, obviously. This is crime fiction.

She leaves the thick fruit mix to cool. Melts the chocolate. Glistening rich black in the shallow pan. When it is viscous and runs slowly from the back of her walnut spoon, she drops in warmed essences almond, vanilla [...] She leaves the pan over hot water, bubbling softly in the cool of her morning kitchen. Lays the pastry out on the marble slab. Rolls it to paper fine. Folds it in on itself and starts again. Seven times more. Then she fits it to the baking dish, fluted edges, heavy base. She bakes the pastry blind and removes from her oven a crisp, dark shell. Pours in warm, thick, liquid chocolate, sprinkles over a handful of flaked and toasted almonds, watches them sink into the quicksand black. [...] When the chocolate is almost cool, she beats three egg yolks and more sugar into the fruit mixture, pours it slowly over the chocolate, lifts the tart dish and ever so gently places it in the heated oven. [...] She cries, one slow fat tear every fifteen seconds. When there are one hundred and sixty tears the tart is done.

My friends, how fabulous is this? Pretty much a lot! Had to look up what loganberries are to find out they are a cross between raspberry and blackberry. Souds damn delicious anyway, dahlinks.

On the whole this is an good collection of short stories. Some are meh, some are very enjoyable. Anne Perry goes on and on for pages, Val McDermid is snappy and to the point, Peter Lovesey also impresses. Simon Brett is amusing. Would be great to bring on a trip. And I'm going to read more Stella Duffy, if possible. And brush up on tart noir.


Frida said...

I see what you mean... Now I'm really hungry for some kake, and I don't even like cake that much.

By the way, have you read "Hjälp, jag heter Zbigniew"?

bani said...

Eller hur? Jag har varit duktig och hållit mig från sötsaker hela fastan, så jag spricker av chokladlängtan. :-O

Har inte läst Zbigniew, men tror vi har den. Kanske ska läsa den, men maken som läst en del tycker den är sådär, så vet inte om jag orkar. Är det värt det, menar du?

Frida said...

Jag gillade den, och läste ut den på typ en kvart (eller en dag eller två). Men jag går ju på alla skrönor rakt av eftersom jag inte har nåt att jämföra med :-)

bani said...

Om ingen gick på skrönorna skulle de ju inte förtjäna att få kallas skrönor... ;-) Ja, är den snabbläst så kanske jag ska offra mig för konsten, så kan jag bättre avge ett utlåtande. On verra, som man sa på franskatimmen. :-)

HB said...

Wow, så bra blogg! Hit kommer jeg tilbake for å finne gode lesetips

bani said...

Tack ska du ha, HB! Har läst din en del nu, och LYCKA TILL med uppsatsen!

HB said...

Tusen takk:-) Du har vel "been there, done that". Jeg gleder meg til sommeren, da skal jeg BARE ligge på stranda og lese Lindsay Gordon.

bani said...

I wish I'd done that - jag blev/blir ju aldrig klar. :-( Bli klar, det säger jag dig. Bli klar! Och det fixar du säkert. :-) Och tipsa om dina Lindsayfavoriter sedan!