Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fruit Tarts and Giving Hearts

I don't usually like fruit in my desserts.  I like fruit, and I like dessert, just not at the same time.  For my trip to Sugar Bakery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, however, I made an exception.  There was much to choose from at Sugar Bakery, as the counter display featured rows and rows of artful pastries, cupcakes, and cookies.  I was drawn to the "Ashley" fruit tart.  It looked inviting-- a small pie-shaped tart covered in small mounds of whipped cream, topped by one peach slice, one raspberry, and a white chocolate garnish.  It did not disappoint.  The whipped cream had more texture than the whipped cream you might find on a sundae, and was slightly sweeter. The raspberry and peach slice were a nice accompaniment to the cream. Underneath the cream was a layer of sweet fruit compote consisting of apricot and peach, and dotted with clusters of raspberry.  Although I am not a big apricot fan, the apricot gave the fruit a tangy burst of flavor, which worked nicely with the delicious cream and fresh fruit on top.  Pulling it all together was the crust, which appeared to have a thin layer of white chocolate lining the bottom crust.  If anything could be improved upon, it would be the crust. It did the job and was neither too dry nor too sweet, but it could have been softer.  Had I tried to slice into it with a plastic fork, I think I would have had some trouble, but since I was enjoying the tart so much and yes, eating it like an apple, the crust did not present a problem.  All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable dessert.

While we are on the subject of fruit, I have a story about cherries.

A family was on vacation in Montana, a long way from home.  It was a Sunday, and the parents wanted to attend church services.  On the way back from some sightseeing they stopped at a church, and the oldest daughter, a teenager, all but refused to get out of the car.  The teenager thought it was unnecessary to drag the whole family to church while on vacation, and had no problem saying so.  After a rather significant period of time during which the mother offered an explanation, which quickly turned to lecture, and then an exasperated directive, the family finally emerged from their rental car and headed into the church.  With the daughter complaining all the way.  The father volunteered to continue dealing with the daughter while the mother went in to find seats with the other children.  It took an awfully long time for the father and daughter to join the family, and by that time the mother's nerves were frayed.  The father finally appeared and whispered that the daughter had gotten a rather large nosebleed and they had used up all of the tissues they could find.  The frustrated mom got up and said she would handle it, and she went and found her daughter outside, trying in vain to stave off the nosebleed.  As the mother watched her daughter trying to deal with the nosebleed, the mother felt some sympathy.  But mostly the mother was exasperated that the daughter had gotten her way and now was, in fact, not attending church.  The mother and daughter walked around the little town for awhile, looking in vain for a store to purchase some more tissues.  At some point the bleeding finally stopped.  And it was around that time that the daughter noticed them.

A family had set up a makeshift fruit stand by the side of the road.  There was a mother holding a baby, a father, and two pre-teen daughters, and they were selling bags of cherries from a few plastic folding chairs and a small table. Their dress and manner indicated that there might be a reason that they were selling cherries on the street from plastic chairs.  It did not appear that they were selling very much that day. 

"Mom, we have to go buy some cherries," said the daughter.

"What are we going to do with cherries?" replied the mother.  "We don't need cherries.  They're not going to keep in the hotel room.  And we don't even know where the cherries came from."

"Mom, we really have to buy some of those cherries from those people," said the daughter.

And so the mother gave the daughter some money, and the daughter bought a big bag of cherries.  The daughter seemed very happy to be carrying the plastic bag of cherries back toward the church.  And the mother, no longer exasperated, was somewhat amazed at how things had turned out.  Yes, her daughter had missed church.  But the mother felt like she received a great lesson about her daughter that day.  And about what it means to have a good heart.

Sometimes, when we let kids be, the good stuff rises to the top.  And sometimes the good stuff is even better than what parents expect.

By the time they walked back to the church, the mother and daughter had missed most of the service.  But it didn't really matter.  They had had their church, right there on the street in Whitefish, Montana, buying cherries at a plastic chair fruit stand.  

Have a fruit-filled and happy, fruitful week.