You know the kind of positivity that supposedly comes from contorting your limbs into impossible yoga poses, imbibing fermented beverages, Instagramming avocado toasts and quinoa bowls, and thinking sunny thoughts? I’m not so sure it works, but correct me if I’m wrong. I’m loath to try Kombucha and I’ll take a big bowl of white rice over quinoa any day.
I’m a positive person. I’m a happy person. But sometimes your head hurts and your dry lips cracked open and the news is daily filled with tales of outrage and incompetence so you have no choice but to cheer yourself up with a list (who doesn’t love lists?!) of the little things in life that bring you joy.
I love lists.
In no particular order:
- the smell of a splash of red wine bubbling in a pot of sautéed onions and mushrooms
- crystal clear blue sky after a week of incessant rain
- waking up in the morning only to realize I have woken up too early and still have more time to sleep
- walking into the hushed reverence of a library
- easing open the wrapper of a pineapple cake and taking a deep whiff of buttery goodness
- sneak attack hugs and kisses received while I’m cooking
- whipping the front door open to three Amazon boxes sitting pretty on the bench
- the deep rumble of the heater roaring awake
- cutting open a slab of steak and being greeted by perfectly pink medium rare
- picking up a bouquet of fresh basil and burying my nose deep within
- meeting a happy dog and giving it the head-scratching and back-patting every good dog deserves
- watching cake rise through the oven door
- ears and arms tingling at the chaotic harmony of an orchestra tuning to concert A
- punching down a bowl of springy dough
- unexpectedly light traffic on the commute home
- laughing hysterically with my fiancé about nothing at all
- waking up to the pitter patter and drip drop of rain on a lazy Saturday, knowing I don’t have to step foot outside into damp misery at all that day
- watching snow fall on a muffled white cityscape
- smiling stupidly at a chubby baby from across the room
- downing sweet, sweet water after a vigorous workout
- long hugs on bad days
Citrus Chocolate Tart
Makes one 9″ tart
This tart was a hastily conceived creation born out of a need to rid myself of some extra pastry cream. It’s a stunningly photogenic dessert and highly customizable. I used regular oranges from my backyard and some lovely pink Cara Cara oranges, but I think it would be wise to choose some citrus with more bitter and sour profiles (think grapefruit) for more contrast in taste.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1-2 egg yolks
2 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
4-5 (or more, depending on size) citrus fruits, peel cut off and sliced crosswise, 1/4″ thick
mint leaves for garnish
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt.
- Add the butter and mix on low until the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture (chunks of butter should be no larger than small, flattened peas).
- Add an egg yolk and allow to mix until the tart dough just comes together. If needed, add an extra egg yolk or a tablespoon or two of cold water.
- Press the dough into a 9″ tart pan and run a rolling pin over the top to cut off any excess dough.
- Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Remove the tart pan from the freezer and discard the plastic wrap. Spray the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and press it up against the surface of the tart crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- After 15-20 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake for another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chopped chocolate evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.
- Allow the chocolate to melt for a few minutes, then evenly spread the chocolate with the back of a spoon.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack until the chocolate sets and you can remove the tart from the pan without burning yourself.
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch into the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine.
- In a saucepan, heat up the milk until it just begins to boil.
- Remove from heat and carefully whisk a quarter cup or so of hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs. Carefully add the remaining hot milk and whisk to combine.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, whisking constantly.
- After it boils, continue to whisk for another minute until it thickens.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Immediately cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap to the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming as it cools down.
- Allow the cream to cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge until needed.
- Once your tart shell and pastry cream have cooled, poor the pastry cream into the tart shell and spread evenly.
- Arrange the citrus slices over the pastry cream and garnish with mint leaves if desired.