It’s summer! Unofficially, anyway. Despite a raw, rainy Memorial Day weekend, we’ve kicked off summer here on our hilltop in Vermont. For me, that means moving my favorite reading spot from by the fire to an Adirondack chair in the shade, or a comfy seat on the screen porch…or an outdoor Irish café. My five-year-old granddaughter announced she wants to set up the hammock so she can “lax” with her books.
Does your favorite spot for reading change with the seasons?
And our local farmstand is open for the season. I threw together a rhubarb crisp on Sunday but look forward to making my favorite fresh raspberry pie. I’ve included the recipe below.
Every summer, I reread a fun classic. This year it’s Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes. Often called “The Queen of Spy Writers,” MacInnes, who died in 1985, wrote twenty-one espionage thrillers, drawing on her personal experience. Her first thriller, Above Suspicion, was published in 1941. Released the following year, Assignment in Brittany is described as “the gripping tale of an undercover operative deep in Nazi-occupied France.”
With the popularity of World War II novels, it’s sobering to remember MacInnes wrote her first novels during the war. Both Above Suspicion and Assignment in Brittany were made into movies. I haven’t seen either movie but would like to.
I also have a list of summer releases I’m looking forward to reading. Rogue Reads, RWW’s monthly evening with authors, helps keep my TBR list up to date.
Now. Raspberry pie. Raspberries are available year-round but I love fresh-picked local berries. We used to pick them ourselves, but many bug bites and pricker-scratches later, we’re happy to support local farmers.
Here’s the recipe I use, a family favorite.
FRESH RASPBERRY PIE
1 quart fresh raspberries, washed and dried
1 cup water (total)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 to 4 oz. softened cream cheese (optional)
1 baked, cooled pie shell
Simmer 1 cup berries with 2/3 cup water for about three minutes.
Blend sugar, cornstarch and 1/3 cup water and stir into berry mixture. Stirring constantly, boil for one minute (mixture will lose its cloudy appearance).
Spread cream cheese over bottom of baked, cooled pie shell if desired; can add a bit of milk or cream to help spreading consistency.
Add remaining 3 cups of berries to pie shell. Top with cooked berry mixture and refrigerate pie for about 2 hours, until firm.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
What are your summer traditions?