Saturday, July 23, 2011

Case Study 91: "My Mother's Tart Cupcakes"

It seems I love to start my posts with a disclaimer, so here I go with another one:   
I am made up of the contents of this cake.

My mother is a fantastic cook.  She is an even better baker.  She is the reason that I am who I am in the kitchen today.  But she is even more so the reason who I am in general.

She is strong.  She is brilliant.  She could problem solve her way out of a paper bag, and is the reason that I found myself actively seeking to climb Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs while still changing the glitter rubber bands in my braces.  

She is so very good at what she does, but she never acts out of anything but compassion.  She is proud of everything that she has and we do.  She is the most humble person I know.  She appreciates a good cocktail, a good pair of shoes, and is completely aware of when it is just necessary to get to a spa.  She is the worst singer I know, but this is counteracted by the fact that she has totally natural rhythm.

She is so beautiful it hurts, but she is also so unassuming that her aloofness lights up a room.  She likes to worry, but she says that's her job.  I always thought that was a general mom thing to do, but as you grow up and realize that not everyone was dealt the same mom card, you learn to appreciate it even more. This is because she loves unconditionally.   

 "My Mother's Tart Cupcakes" are vanilla cupcakes filled with vanilla bean pastry cream, topped with vanilla buttercream and an array of fresh summer fruit.   They are cold and refreshing, sweet and simple and decadent.  They are a version of the fruit tart we have always eaten in the summertime.

    My mother was born in July.  She began making this tart before I was born, and still has the recipe cut out to prove it.

  I know because I used it to make the famous custard that normally fills cold pie shells before getting gloriously crowned with fruit.  I know because as a child, like most children wait for their jello to set up, I remember waiting not so patiently for this hot divine custard to cool in little cups in the refrigerator, and wondering how hard it was to sneak a spoonful and not let its indent be seen.  And I know it because although my mother's first hospital meals when I was born were coconut cake, the recipe cut out of the magazine is dated several months prior to my own birthday.  
Therefore meaning...

I am made up of the contents of this cake.  

I sometimes jokingly fear that I am destined for a Gray Gardens-esque life with my mother, you know, minus the feral cats and plus my father.  She is, after all, my best friend and my confidant, my partner is crime, and quite possibly the most effortlessly glamorous person that I know.  But in the end, I am so thankful to be bound to her for reasons of fruit tarts and coconut cake.  And I am even more grateful that she is the most marvelous example of a mother that could ever even exist. 

Happy Birthday to my big Momoo.

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