Mother's Day

Other Mother's Day Tart - Poem and Recipe

May 11, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I am an oncologist, and a few years back I had a man coming to the end of life, and instead of hospice he said "I have to go home to say thank you and good bye" to all those who taught him life. He was weak, and in no shape to travel, but made the trip.
He mentioned an aunt and the browned butter peach tarts she made for him -"something my mother never did" . He shared this with a smile, and his gracious end in gratitude was unforgettable, and something i hope to emulate.
I wrote the poem to remember him, and to remember the "other mothers" who spoiled us.
The recipe depends on a Genius recipe:Paule Caillat's Brown Butter Tart Crust
That was the bridge this amateur chef needed to get an authentic pastry. I applied the fundamental principle that "a tart should be tart" and added kiwi and blueberries to the peaches. I am quite certain these were not the tarts Auntie Maria made, but the combination works.

The Other Mother’s Day

Before I die too young to die*
I must go back
To the country of my birth
And thank all those who taught me life
And the first I’ll thank is Auntie Maria
The aunt who made me tarts
A thing my mother never did
I could smell them cooking
The peach and lemon
And nutty browned butter
I knew they were coming
An hour or so before the first bite

Early in the morning
I saw the market basket
Filled with peaches
And a lemon
And the honey jar was out
There was a secret ingredient
She added with her back turned
Next a spoon of uncooked filling
Just for me
Her trademark, smiling scold:
“Leave some for the tarts”
Then all through the house
And outside you knew
Those tarts were coming
People would drift by
Just to say hello
How long have you been here?
They would ask me
Asking me about mother
And a few brave souls
Would ask about dad
As they ran out of questions.
Even as a child a part of me
Recognized their sinister plot -
They were just pretending
To care about me
Stalling for a bite
And so I cut my answers short
For I wanted all the tarts

But Auntie was generous
And as they gathered
She would explain to the neighbors
That her father, my grandpa Carlos
A man I only met through stories
Had come back through me
A spitting image
“It skips a generation”
They would say in response -
Every year I heard
The same antiphon:
Spitting image
It skips a generation
As they bit into my tarts

Much later, years later
I understood this more
When my aunt wrote out the family recipe
And explained her father Carlos
Would make the family tarts
A recipe from his mother
Passed along in mirth to me
The secret ingredient,
Finally revealed, was Love
And a pinch of cardamom
By then my mother had explained
More than once
Auntie Maria was the favorite
“She was always his favorite”
She said with an accepting smile
Years in the making
That was just a part of life back then
A fact to be faced
As I came to understand
My mother always felt
Her father made the tarts for Maria
And gave some to her
These days
Such favorites are shamed
In how-to parent books
And pies must be cut
In equal portion
If there are five children
Your love should be divided
Five equal ways
And just as those neighbors
Pretended to care about me
To stall for tarts
Auntie loved her father
And missed her father so much
That every tart she handed to me
She was handing to him
For I was her favorite

* four weeks before his premature death, a patient traveled back to the country of his birth “to thank them and say goodbye”
Bill McLaughlin MD —detroitslimnoplump

What You'll Need
  • Paule Callait's Brown Butter Tart Crust
  • 8 ounces Butter
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 6.6 ounces flour
  • Filling
  • 5 peaches
  • 2 kiwis
  • .5 pints blueberries
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch cardamom
  • 1 handful Love
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups peach preserves
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 410 place all ingredients in oven for 18-20 minutes remove and immediately add flour one T at a time after cool spread in a tart pan poke holes in bottom with a fork or live to regret not poking holes return to oven at 410 for 20-22 minutes
  2. Mix flour, zest, and sugar in a bowl peel peaches and cut into bite size pieces slice whole kiwis and trim the skin from each slice cut kiwi into bite sized pieces add blueberries mix fruit with flour mixture add cardamom hide the prep from onlookers as you add Love (this is done by pausing to remember those who loved you through this recipe) fill the tart turn oven down to 400 and cook for 35 minutes Cool
  3. Place 2 cups peach preserves in a bowl add confectioners sugar (1T) to taste add lemon(1t) to taste Spoon over tart slice

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan
  • arcane54

2 Reviews

Susan May 17, 2014
I would say you are much more then a doctor with a terminal patient. You are an insightful heart with a voice to match
arcane54 May 11, 2014
Lovely. Thank you.