When the strawberries are ripe, it is a sure sign that summer has arrived in New England. These juicy, heart-shaped, scarlet garden berries are genetically related to the garden rose and are best when fresh from the field. Blackberries and blueberries seem to be the best of year-round available fruit and are easy to find organically grown. California grows delightful late spring apricots and the first North-American cherries that hit the market just as strawberries are at their summer solstice best. For a particularly delightful Sunday brunch, toast slices of rye, brioche, country, and raisin pecan bread from a favorite bakery, slather with mascarpone cheese, drizzle with local honey, sprinkle with sea salt flakes, and dot with tiny mint sprigs or lemon thyme. Rustically elegant, this fruit and bread cornucopia pairs perfectly with bubbly. There must be something to celebrate….go ahead and pop the cork!
Ingredients12 slices of bread from a variety of mini loaves, or 6 slices of regular sized bread cut in half on the diagonal 4 ounces mascarpone Zest of one lemon A small handful of each: berries, cherries, & stone fruit 2 tablespoons honey Maldon Sea Salt Flakes Fresh lemon thyme leaves and tiny mint leaves, garnish
- Toast the bread slices. Set aside to cool a bit.
- Mix the mascarpone with the lemon zest. Generously spread each slice of toast with the mascarpone mix.
- Slice each of the fruits thinly (blackberries in thirds, strawberries & apricots in 1/8” slices, cherries in half) and remove the pit if the fruit has one.
- Drizzle the fruit topped toasts with the honey, and sprinkle with sea salt flakes and a few leaves of thyme or mint.
Mascarpone is Italy’s answer to cream cheese—however, it is more spreadable due to its higher fat content it has a creamier and richer taste. Seek out a local bakery that makes the best artisanally crafted bread around. Mini loaves make for nice presentation but are unnecessary. Bread freezes easily, and different tastes and textures are the key to taking a simple plate and turning it into something divine.