Remember being 19 years old? One year away from home and everything seemed different to me. I swore I wouldn’t get married, wear a bra anymore, or even think about having kids. I stayed up late, went to class after only 4 hours of sleep, and somehow managed to make it through my freshman and sophomore year without getting into too much trouble.
Now I’m nearly 25. I’m happily married and I own a cat. We talk about having kids in a few years, and I spend my weekend nights baking bagels. I’m not a housewife, far from it, but I’m a lot closer to what I imagined my life to be like at 15 than at 19.
And so now I’m going back even further, to when I was seven or eight. Back then, I imagined that I would live on a boat, sell popsicles to my friends, and ride horses through bird sanctuaries before going to bed. Maybe when I turn 30, a few of those dreams will have come true too. I could trade bagels for popsicles, long walks for rides. I could even convince my dad to bring the ol’ Hobie Cat out of storage.
But the one thing I’ve always wanted throughout the years is a partner. Be it a sister, a husband, a friend. I’ve been blessed with many in my life, but I’m especially thankful for Ryan—he’s my number #1 man. When I was 15 years old, I thought being married would be pretty great. When I was 19, I wasn’t too sure. But I’m happy to say that at 25 my marriage to Ryan has been far better than anything I could have ever hoped for.
We all need to wake up next to someone we love (be it a boyfriend, girlfriend, cat, husband, wife, partner).
Richard asked me if I would be willing to make a special dessert for the proposal. Of course, I said, and pulled out my cookbooks. I found a recipe that I knew Molly would love, put on some good music, and spent a lovely afternoon baking, thinking only good thoughts of the couple-to-be. I’m happy to say that the proposal was accepted, and my two friends will be getting married sometime next year.
They enjoyed the tarts, and Ryan and I enjoyed them too. I had to make an extra for the love of my life...after all, its summer in Austin, and we need cool and creamy desserts to make it through these 100 degree days.
A simple tart crust is filled with a seductively smooth pastry cream. The cream is good enough to eat on its own, but when married with a flaky and slightly sweet butter crust…HEAVEN. I topped the cream with fresh berries and a petite pastry cut-out. How convenient that Molly and Richard’s initials are the same as Ryan and mine? I’ve had plenty of practice making Rs and Ms.
So make some tarts, share some love, and remember that its these relationships that make life worth living.
Please note that the pastry cream needs to chill for at least 3 hours. Ideally, the cream would be made the day before you assemble the tarts.
*Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. For Pastry Cream: Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring to dissolve sugar.
2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
3. When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk simmering half-and-half into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to medium bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy crea
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 10-12 cubes
1/3 cup apricot jam, slightly warm (a few seconds in the microwave)
An assortment of fresh fruit
1. While pastry cream is chilling, whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, sugar and salt. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and use your fingers, a pastry cutter, or two knives to cut the butter into the flour. This takes work...but when ready, the mixture will resemble course meal. Gradually pour in egg mixture and mix until dough just comes together. Turn dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, press into a disc, wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to 2 days.
2. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 13- inch round. At this point, you can make smaller tarts (tartlettes) by using a 5 or 6 inch round pastry cutter (this depends on the size of your mini tart pans).
3. Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling over 9- to 9 1/2- inch tart pan with removable bottom. Ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan. Set dough-lined tart pan on large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet, press foil inside frozen tart shell and over edges and fill with ceramic pie weights (dried beans work well!). Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes for a full tart, about 15 for mini tarts, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Allow tart to cool in tart pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before removing.
5. When you are ready to prepare your fruit tarts, spoon pastry cream into completely cooled tart shells. Smooth over with a spatula or knife. Arrange sliced or whole fruit on top of pastry cream. Brush lightly with warm apricot jam, if desired.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
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Here are two things you can do raise awareness about this important cause:
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Thanks for your support!