Earlier this month, my husband and I got to take our first real trip alone together since we were placed with our daughter. We are usually go-out-and-see-things-rent-cars-to-take-random-roadtrips-hop-on-buses-to-go-exploring sort of people, but this time we decided to take a different approach. I’ve been incredibly stressed at work, and my husband is working through (what feels like) miles upon miles of paperwork for job applications. We didn’t think we’d have the energy to do our normal exploring thing. So we decided on Mexico. Water its own special shades of blue and soft sand, we got a room with a view you couldn’t look away from. I bought a pile of books to catch up vacation reading, downloaded a bunch of movies / shows, and we were ready to go.
We were bored in less than a day, and missed our munchkin even before then. It’s strange how things change when you become a parent. I never thought I’d be the mom type, and even made my husband swear that we would do just a couple vacation once a year to get away from the little rugrat. Never did I think I’d be calling and skyping with her daily, or thinking about her at every turn. “Oh look at that kiddie pool.. Razia would have loved that! Aw look at that sweet little dress… should we buy one for Razia? Can you imagine if Razia was here?” Daily. Hourly. Strange. The whole trip made us reflect on family, and how lucky we were that we even had the option of taking this trip without her.
It’s funny how life works out sometimes. For example, when I first met my mom in law, she was just my friend’s mom (or, more accurately, the mom of the guy I had a crush on hah). Then my husband and I got serious, got engaged, and finally got married. This woman who I thought was pretty cool, who would always bust my husband’s chops, and who was such an awesomely strong woman, became my mom in law. But it’s more than that; she’s also become my rock for so many things, including helping us raise our daughter; she’s someone I can’t imagine my life without. I’m sort of an oddity in my own family. I’m too loud, too head strong, too obnoxious, and too demanding in comparison to my mom and my sisters. I’m also not as well kept as they are, and wasn’t as social as they were growing up. All these things that caused me to be the odd one out, are actually things that my mom in law loves about me. Strange.
Society, film, and literature have a way of demonizing the relationship between and a mom and daughter in law. Now, whether we are formed by those influences or whether fiction took a page from reality, I can’t say, but I do know that many of my other friends don’t have the best relationship with their in laws. I never expected to find the love, acceptance, and appreciation that I did with mine, and it’s honestly changed me. I’ve become more confident and, yes this is cheesy, blossomed. It’s not a coincidence that my husband appreciates me for who I am. I honestly think a lot of it comes from his mom, and it shows in how much she loves me back.
This tart recipe is mainly for her. A few weeks ago I wrote about the white chocolate mousse recipe, and that’s what I used to fill this simple tart. One, because my mom in law loves white chocolate and two, because I wanted the filling to be as straight forward and simple as this tart recipe is. It’s not as buttery and flaky as many out there, but it comes together quickly and easily, and it’s sturdy enough to hold just about any tart filling. Simple, unassuming, and reliable, this cookie like tart crust is just like my mom in law, and just as I think everyone should have someone like her in their lives, I think you need to try this recipe as well. Happy baking.
- 1/4 cups sugar (2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (4 ounces)
- 1 1/3 cup flour, sifted (6 ounces)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- powdered sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease the tart pan(s).
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, cream together sugar, butter and salt for just a few seconds to combine. Slowly add in flour at the lowest speed and mix another minute or two more. The mixture will look sandy, that's ok.
- Knead lightly by hand against the sides of the bowl until a smooth dough forms. Form the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze to use later, or get ready to roll right away.
- When ready to roll, dust the counter and surface of the dough lightly with powdered sugar. Roll the dough to 1/4” thickness and divide into 6 portions if making individual tarts. If making one large tart, roll the dough up and onto the pin, then unroll over the tart shell.
- In either case, gently press the dough into the tart pan(s), breaking off any excess by pressing the dough firmly against the edge of the tart pan. Use any extra dough to patch up holes or thin spots. The dough is extremely forgiving and you can piece together scraps of dough to form a tart without having to re-roll.
- Use a fork and prick the dough all over and bake until very lightly browned, about 14 minutes. Do not overbake, or the tarts will become too hard. Cool the tarts for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from the shell. Fill with something delicious.