I’ve become a mother in the past couple of months.
It snuck up on me – not like the shocked awe of the word “pregnant” on a test stick; me perched on the bed and the brink of a new life. Not like the soul-altering pain and triumph of labour and birth, the story of which I carry with me like no other story I’ve created in my life; a story that I replay every day, a story that will feed itself and my belief that I can do anything.
It’s not the survival motherhood of those early days, singularly focused on keeping my baby alive. It’s not the mourning motherhood of the months following, when I painstakingly and reluctantly buried my former life and the woman I used to be, one day at a time.
This is the motherhood I knew was coming. My doula’s words – and the best thing I’ve known about parenting – “it takes two to three years to transition to parenthood.”I am so grateful that, through the tumult of the last twenty months, I could hold steady knowing that this was coming.
This motherhood doesn’t exactly remember the shape of the life that was buried, only that it’s there, feeding the roots of my new self. In this motherhood, I cannot think of any place I’d rather be than sitting on the couch with my daughter, under a blanket, snuggled tight, reading books. Though my love for my daughter has always been fierce and all-encompassing, it had always been salted with the loss of Everything Before Her. Now, I have realized, recently and slowly, that it is graced with acceptance.
These are my mom’s butter tarts. Thanks mom. I think I get it now.
- 2 cups all-purpose white flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup cold butter
- up to 1/2 cup of cold water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- To make the pastry, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until it forms pebble-sized pieces in the mixture. Add in a little bit of cold water at a time, stirring gently, until the dough begins to become cohesive. Turn out onto a well-floured countertop and gently knead the dough just enough to get it to stick together. Roll it out into 3-4mm thickness.
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- Using a round cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut the dough into circles and press them down into a muffin tin.
- Make the filling, stirring all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Spoon the filling into the pastry shells, being careful not to overfill them - the filling will bubble up a bit in the oven and you don't want it spilling over and making a sticky/burnt mess of your pastry.
- Bake the tarts for 8-10 minutes, removing them from the oven as soon as you see the filling begin to bubble up. These taste best slightly undercooked, so that you have to eat them over the sink as the filling dribbles down your chin.