And perhaps one day, when he is fourteen and almost taller than me with an awkward facial hair attempt growing on his chin, I will slip up and call him that in front of his friends, and he will roll his eyes and hope that no one heard. But that won’t stop me.
See, when we first laid eyes on Owen, around seven weeks into his tiny life, he was the size of a blueberry. And as I watched his little heart excitedly flutter, I sighed big sighs of joy and relief.
In the weeks and months prior to this glimpse of our baby boy, my jaw had been clenched in continual worry because earlier in the year, we had lost a baby in miscarriage, and no other trial has tested my faith and joy more.
The joy of a positive pregnancy test. The initial pain in my side and vague but pervasive feeling that something is wrong. The first silent ultrasound. The inconclusive blood test. The ensuing two weeks of preparing for the worst tempered by the faintest hope. The second ultrasound.No heartbeat. No baby. Blighted Ovum. Good news turned to bad. Excitement turned to dread, as I waited for my body to finish grieving the lost baby and flush its now useless yolk sac out.
I cried heaving, choking tears. I cried whimpering, quiet ones too, as I slowly learned to unclench my hands, and all of the dreams they contained, and surrender to the truth that there are many, many things beyond my control. I found great solace in knowing that God knows my deepest longing and that none of my grief was hidden from him, this God who oversees the universe and yet had formed and infinitely loved the tiny life that had been within me.
Months came and went, and we began to move on until September came. Four positive home pregnancy tests, and I began to accept the reality that I was pregnant again, along with all of the potential joy and grief that reality held.
So we waited again. Three weeks of not wanting to grow too attached to this baby while wanting nothing more than to love and hold him. And when we finally saw him on the ultrasound screen, with his tiny heart dancing with life, I rejoiced that this Blueberry Baby seemed to be here to stay.
I just couldn’t help myself. When I pulled out these blueberries to make this tart, the emotion of this past year flooded me, and I still can’t believe how blessed I am to call this boy, who once was the size of a blueberry, mine.
While I typically write about the hilarious and absurd, I feel like I wouldn’t be true to the title of this blog to only talk about the pleasant seasons of life. So thank you for allowing me to bring you through some of our darker days too.
This blueberry tart is easier to make than it looks. It is also way too easy to eat it as both breakfast and dessert. It not only tastes summery fresh, but feels that way too, with fresh blueberries, soft but with a slight crunch, in each bite. The crust is soft and buttery, like a crust should be, and I could have eaten the creamy filling by itself, and in fact did, with several spoonfuls, as I made this. The filling is a blend of custard and cheese cake – tangy from the sour cream, but sweet from the vanilla and zest. The orange zest in this tart plays off the blueberries perfectly, though next time I’m tempted to use a daintier lemon zest. It’s the perfect bite of sweet to pull out for guests. Enjoy!
*Don’t have a tart pan? Me neither. Check out how to hack a tart pan from a cookie sheet and foil here.
(recipe from Chicken & Egg Cookbook
(yields one 14 x 4 1/2-inch rectangular tart OR one 9-inch round tart)
This recipe shouts "summer!" from the rooftops with its fresh blueberry topping, rich sour-cream and orange-zest tart, and soft, buttery crust. Perfect for breakfast or dessert.
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened*
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg, separated
(*if using salted butter, skip the 1/8 tsp. salt when making the crust)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. orange zest (I think lemon would be nice too)
2 c. fresh blueberries (washed and dried)
(optional) 1/4 c. red currant jelly, warmed
For the Crust:
Mix together the flour, nutmeg, and salt (if using) in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer, until smooth. Add the egg yok and beat until blended. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture, beating just until a dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, press the dough into a flat disk. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 14 by 4 1/2 inch rectangular tart pan or a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.
(Don't have a tart pan, you can create on with a cookie sheet and tin foil, as seen in this tutorial. )
Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes, or freeze for 15, or until the crust feels firm. Preheat the oven to 375.* Whisk the egg white until frothy and lightly brush the inside of the crust with it. Bake for 15 minutes until just slightly pale brown and set aside. (I suggest turning this 1/2 way through the baking to keep the edges from browning too much).
For the Filling:
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl at medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat int he flour. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Pour into the baked crust.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes or until the filling is slightly puffed around the edge. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Place the blueberries on top of the tart. If using, brush the jelly over the tops of the blueberries. (I skipped this and didn't miss it). Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.