I write, erase, rewrite, and try again. Few words seem to adequately express my emotions this week. Emotions that called for three, yes three of these beautiful summer tarts. Peaches, plums and cherries laid on top of coconut whipped cream with a date nut crust. When I find mindful treats, that don’t taste mindful, I indulge like there’s no tomorrow. This tart has been comfort for the weary, motivation for the impatient. Me, that is. This week has been the most challenging, yet rewarding week since becoming a Mama. I know I am not saying anything new, but now that I am in the thick of it, I feel the need to just admit it. Motherhood is really hard work, full of really hard stuff. It’s also full of riches. When Octave apologizes with the sweetest, most sincere, “sorry,” tells me “love you,” and begs to “help cook,” every time we enter the kitchen, my heart melts like molasses, spreading deep, and wide, reaching the most sacred space inside these bones. This heart that once weighed tired and true, falls easy like a hem, holding our memories carefully above the floor.
I have anticipated our kitchen adventures since I knew she was in my belly. I have anticipated a little helper by my side. Now those days are here and I want to let go, dive in and savor every last mess, because let me tell you, toddler baking is not for the time keepers, uptight or tidy. It is most certainly not for the restless Mama I was slowly starting to become. It is for the dreamers, the feelers, the curious and most patient. If I allow, invite and devour this whole, baking with my babe will help shape me into the Mama I desire to be. It’s these quiet, messy moments, with cherry stained fingers and cream smeared floors that give the most life, and inspire honest reflection. In spite of my insecurities and doubts, making this tart, with my favorite new helper has got me thinking, maybe I was meant to be a Mama after all. Maybe I do have what it takes.
Summer Cherry Tart
Recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen.
1 cup lightly toasted almonds
1 cup lightly toasted pecans
10 pitted dates
2 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Splash of water, or as necessary
Can of Coconut Milk, refrigerated for at least 12 hours
2-3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 lb. cherries pitted, or other favorite seasonal fruit
In a small pan, lightly toast pecans and almonds and let cool. Add nuts in the food processor, along with pitted dates, salt, cinnamon, and coconut oil. Pulse for about 30 seconds or until ingredients start coming together. To test, take a piece of crust and pinch it between your fingers. It should hold together well. If not, add a splash of water until it does. Scoop crust out into a 9″ pie pan or springform pan if you have one. Place the crust in your pan, making it smooth and even. Set aside.
Refrigerating the coconut milk helps to separate the fat from the liquid. To make the whipped cream you are only going to use the solid part, so you can save the liquid for smoothies or rice, etc. The Thai Kitchen brand does the best at separating, so choose this brand when possible. It really does make a huge difference. Scoop out solid coconut cream and place in a deep bowl. Beat with a hand mixer for 10-15 seconds. Add powered sugar and vanilla and mix on high for 1-2 minutes, but not longer or it will start to separate and loose the consistency of whipped cream. Smooth the whipped cream evenly on top of the crust and set in the fridge while you prepare the fruit.
Wash, slice and pit cherries. Arrange cherries on top of whipped cream and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving. You can also place it in the freezer and remove 30 minutes before you want to eat. If will defrost quickly and tastes great when slightly frozen as well.