I have a real live mulberry bush (actually, it's more like a mulberry tree) in my backyard.
In the past month, it's been raining down plump, ripe black and crimson berries onto my patio and, unfortunately, the hood of my car.
My birds delight in them.
Yesterday I watched a russet-breasted robin, jaw propped wide with a berry treat, as she sat feasting in the limbs of the cedar, which with a shortleaf pine, forms a strange triumvirate with my mulberry.
Whoever planted these three trees together had an interestiong perspective. Ditto for the bamboo stand opposite. Somehow, it works to create an oasis of calm in my hectic life.
As for the mulberries, they're fragrant and messy. They plop down onto the patio with a satisfying thump and I sweep them off into the grass twice daily. Minutes after sweeping, I see them magically reappear.
My man, whose greatest charm is that he thinks everything I cook is wonderful, said he thought he'd seen them in the market. Nope, he was thinking about blackberries, I said.
My a-ha moment arrived just as the words left my mouth.
If the birds could eat them, so could we. I googled mulberries and found a few recipes for pies, but decided I'd make a rustic tart, what we in the South call a Buckle.
The mulberries, unlike blackberries or raspberries, had surprisingly few seeds. They are more difficult to clean since they have pesky little stems that need to be removed. And if they don't fall onto your patio, you might need a ladder to pick them. I balanced precariously on lawn furniture to get the few extra berries I needed for my tart.
A pie crust is laid gently in a baking dish (or on a cooking sheet), mounded with 1-2 cups of fresh berries, usually blueberries or blackberries, but in this instance, mulberries, that have been mixed with 1/2 sugar and a little flour (about a tablespoon). Dot with butter (1/4 stick, cut into slices). Fold the edges of the pie crust over the berry mixture, pinch a little at the corners and the tart or buckle goes into the oven for about 40-45 minutes.
Serve warm either plain or with a nice dollop of fresh whipped cream or ice cream. Delicious!
This is the kind of recipe we make without a cookbook or a recipe card, one we adjust according to how many berries we have on hand. It's intuitive, but really easy.
I had just enough mulberries for a small tart (four servings).