Six months huh? Hah, I feel like there are times where I take the “part-time” part of this blog a little too seriously. But between a big move from NYC to the Twin Cities in Minnesota (with a toddler), to switching my job situation, to finalizing our daughter’s adoptions, to other family stuff… I just couldn’t seem to find the time. Or rather, the energy.
This is the first time in our little girl’s life where we haven’t had a family support system to fall back on. We were lucky enough to be less than 10 minutes from both sets of grandparents, which meant plenty of weekend mornings where I could just sleep in. If you’ve met my kid, you’ll know she’s feisty and a handful. She’s always been surrounded by adults, and so she now thinks she’s 25. There was always someone ready to hang out with her, play with her, keep her entertained. Now she only has us. Add trying to potty train her, a bought of pneumonia, and her first ear infection to the list and well, I’m surprised I’m not rocking back and forth in a closet somewhere.
But even more than that, I think I miss the ability to text a friend and just hang out for a cup of coffee. Or a late night sheesha session. Or catch a movie after our kids have gone to bed. I had been feeling lonely in NY when I worked crazy hours, and now I’m feeling lonely because I just don’t know anyone here. It’s funny thinking about how far I’ve come since I was younger, and how in other cases I’ve circled right back to where I started.
Back in the day I was painfully shy and I’d never dream of going up to a perfect stranger to have a conversation. Alhumdulillah, thank goodness I’m not as bad as that anymore, but I do have my moments. Sadly, I’ve forgotten how to be comfortable on my own. I’ve forgotten how to just go out and explore on my own, and just be comfortable in my own skin. Movies, shows, books, and walking around doesn’t require a partner. So why can’t I just get up the courage to go do that?
I feel like that’s the goal I’ll be aiming for this upcoming year. Tomorrow I turn 34, and I think it’s time I get reacquainted with myself. I should journal more to get my internal conversations going. I should check out the art centers and theater houses to expose myself to all the landscapes / cultures / stories that are out there waiting to be heard / seen. It’s time to befriend new worlds and characters in the thousands of books I haven’t read yet. And what better place than Minneapolis / St Paul?
I came to this city excited for all the restaurants and arts it had to offer, but sad because of the lack of community. I think it’s time I remind myself that I still have me. And my husband and daughter. And all the other people I’ve yet to meet. I have to remind myself of the promise and the hope that a new beginning can bring. So here’s to starting year 35. God willing, it’s going to be a great year.
I can’t think of a segway to this recipe so here it is. It may look complicated, but as always, it’s incredibly simple. By baking the main chocolate layer, you get something thicker than ganache that just melts in your mouth. The raspberries help cut the intensity of the chocolate with just the right amount of sweetness. I’ve made it at least four times in the past year and each time in very different circumstances. Once for Ramadan when going to a friend’s iftar surrounded by people I know and laugh with. Another time for a dinner with potential new friends here in MN who had to cancel at the last minute. Then there was the time when I baked it for a soul sister friend who I got a chance to reconnect with. And finally, a smaller serving for the love of my life, who excitedly bought raspberries while grocery shopping on the off chance that I may want to bake with them. Yup my man buys groceries and thinks about me constantly. What more do I need?
- *** FOR THE CRUST
- 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I couldn't find chocolate graham crackers so I bought chocolate teddy cookies and crushed them in my food processor. Easy Peasy)
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- *** FOR THE FILLING
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I've made this with 53% Callebuat, 60% Callebaut, and Bittersweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips. All three have worked well depending on your chocolate preferences)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- *** FOR THE TOPPING
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoon warm water
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
- Stir together all ingredients for the crust (cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar) and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan of a 9 inch tart pan.
- Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes
- While the crust is cooling, start on the filling. Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth.
- Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.
- Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until the filling is mostly set, but middle is slightly jiggly, 20-25 minutes. Don't worry if the filling is cracked, slightly oily looking, or ugly looking. It will even out as it cools. Place on a rack and cool for 1 hour.
- For the glaze topping, bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.
- Pour onto cooled tart and tilt the pan around so it evenly coats the tart. Let this set for 1 hour.
- Top with raspberries.
- Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.