I am hardly a poet. I am too clumsy with rhyme schemes and too impatient for iambic pentameter. Baking is a poetry I’m okay with pursuing. I can mess up. I can crisp everything black and watch it crumble beneath my fork into wispy ashes. Words, I do not like to burn. Poetry is one thing I leave to the masters.
Poetry is such a structured art that I lose myself and my threads of sanity in trying to unscramble the organization and, as a result, completely miss the intended message. High school (and college) literature courses are to blame, I think. As with most interests I scoop up, I am more motivated to think about a work when the processes of unbending and debunking are done on my own accord. My brain works best that way. It does not like being forced. It likes to flow onto a project’s different wavelengths. If a breeze of interest is the driving force, then my brain is happy.
Since watching Interstellar, bits of Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” stream into my awareness. I spend a minute or so stuck on one line. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Each time I recite those eight words, a warm hand wriggles into my heart and clenches the muscle hard. I flash through emotions which electrocute me like thunderbolts then leave a silence wholly consuming but strangely understandable. Rage. Against the dying of the light. Clench your fist and wave it at the universe when it thrusts you in the boxing ring & pulls the lifeblood out of your veins. Do not live passively. Take an active role in your own existence. Wrangle with demons, wrangle with illness, wipe away blood with the back of your hand and keep fighting. Step back onto the floor, replace your gloves, and throw a punch. Throw five punches. Throw twenty, fall, crawl on your fingertips, shake out your dizziness, and find your feet. Brawl for those whom and that which you adore. Scream and scare the evils back into hiding. Never, ever, ever stop fighting.
This applies to any of you who sit up late at night and contemplate surrendering your arms. Do not. Do not accept consignment into the night. Pry open your eyes and find the beacon, however small and however dim. Strike a match, touch it to the wick, make everything brighter. So bright it blinds you. So bright you see specks of beautiful things dancing in the shadows. Grab them and keep them close. You will be okay.
I don’t write poetry. Kneading prose into workable form is much more appealing. But sometimes I read poetry. Sometimes it breaks my soul and molds it anew. Words heighten my resolve to keep swatting and clawing and yelling.
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
These tarts are a teatime must. You don’t have to wrestle with appliances or strange equipment to make these cute sweet treats. Egg pies are a delicacy in Hong Kong and Portugal, to name two specifics, and are incredibly simple to structure. I can’t believe I didn’t find them before now. This flavor speaks loudly. Keep a close eye on them in the oven so to prevent burning. Upon removing from the tins, serve with fresh coffee or a black breakfast tea. Watch the morning glaze by or the night stand still. Most of all, keep chewing at the pastries. Keep chewing at life.
Quick & Sweet Rum Butter Pecan Egg Tartlets
As with my Honey-Balsamic Blueberry Pie, feel free to either create your own pie crust or use a store-bought variety.
Pie crust, cut into 11-12 rounds with a biscuit cutter
2 T melted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1.5 cups scalded milk
2 tsp good-quality rum
1 cup pecan halves, halved again (halfception)
Assembly: Spray a small muffin tin liberally with an oil- or butter-based cooking spray. Prepare pie crust as you would if making a regular, large pie. Using a biscuit cutter, cut rounds out of the dough and mold into muffin tins, taking care not to rip holes in the dough. Remold dough and cut until you can no longer get a good-sized circle out of the remains. Cover tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In the meantime, prepare filling. Whisk eggs with sugars, butter, rum, and cinnamon. Scald milk by microwaving for three minutes, or heating on the stove top on a medium setting until the milk reaches 180 degrees – be SURE to stir it constantly. Very carefully pour milk into egg mixture and whisk constantly until combined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove crusts from the fridge. Spoon filling into each crust, being careful not to fill above the rim of the crust. Top with halved pecan halves (I heard you liked pecan halves so I had you halve the halves into half). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. The pies filling will be browned and a little puffy (it will flatten when cooled). Remove and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve.