Our raspberries are fruiting again. They’re an “everbearing” variety that produces two crops of berries, which means twice the yard snacks and twice the happy. Raspberries are so expensive and fragile that for the few years where we didn’t have a patch, I was loathe to buy them. I am happy that they are so prolific. Eight plants became over thirty in a year, and now we have a robust garden of them.
Roots and shoots
My own roots are a blend of Italian and assorted Canadian influences. As it turns out, one of my great grandmothers was Metis. I wish I’d gotten to know her, but I was quite young when she died. My father’s father’s is from Quebec, but he (or his father, I forget) was adopted, so we could be Norwegian for all we know. On mom’s side is the Italian. Plus British influences. My sisters and I are quite the blend.
Adding to that, I joined a Mennonite Brethren church nearly 20 years ago. While I have no roots in their traditions, I see myself as something of a shoot on the vine. I’ve absorbed some of the culture (mostly food related) and have come to think of the community as my own. If we were to move and change churches, I’d feel compelled to at least look for an MB congregation first.
One of the first Mennonite foods that I was introduced to was platz. I don’t even remember which fruit was in it, but I remember wondering why I’d never come across such a basic but delicious coffee cake type square before. I’ve since had it with rhubarb, cherries, plums (very classic), peaches and blackberries. Tart fruits tend to work quite well, but any that soften are fine. Though now I wonder how apple would be?
I combined raspberries and peaches, both for the tartness and to stretch the few red berries that I had left after the kids snacked on them. I also added coriander (I can’t help it) which isn’t traditional at all. But it is delicious. Once cool, the topping forms a lovely, crumbly crust on top of the thin cake and fruit layer.
Peach Raspberry Platz
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large or 2 small peaches, chopped
1 cup raspberries
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon coriander seed (optional – try ginger or nutmeg if you like)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour an 8×11.5 pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture.
Pour into prepared pan and dot evenly with the fruit.
Combine the crumb ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over the fruit and batter. If you want the fruit to poke through, only use half the topping or so. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Resist the urge to eat it while hot (though it is wonderful warm with a little whipped cream – also not traditional). Oh, and the fruit makes this a perfectly acceptable breakfast dish, right?