I’m turning 25 in less than a month. August 1st was a bittersweet reminder of this and it seems that it’s causing me to reflect an awful lot.
At the age of 17, I really wanted a nose piercing – I wanted that piercing more than anything else that I could imagine and it was the biggest problem I had in my life at that moment. I had received a speeding ticket a year earlier that my mother had to front me the money for since I didn’t have a job or income at the time. I had promised to pay her back but a year had gone by and I hadn’t gotten around to replacing my part-time cashier gig from Target. When I asked my mother if I could get a piercing, she said ‘sure – as soon as you pay me back the $400 you owe me’. She said this in a tone that implied she was pretty sure that I’d coast through the next 5 years of my high school and college life unemployed and never get that chance to get the piercing. The next day I walked into the local coffee shop downtown with a ‘help wanted’ sign on the door and snagged myself a position on the spot. I immediately began working 6 days a week (everyday after school and on Sundays) and was able to pay her back within 3 weeks. And you know what? That nose piercing was freaking awesome – I earned it and looked freaking radical with it (that was until it got infected 3 weeks later but that is besides the point).
I’ve been thinking about that coffee shop gig a lot lately. It was a small place and there were 5 employees (counting the owner). The shop was too small to have more than 2 people working at a time and I’d often times be left by myself, at the age of 17, to man the place down during the slow hours. I remember feeling very grown up with that responsibility and even feeling more mature than most of the other employees. The owner had recently had a baby when I started so she was coming around less and less which left myself and the other 23-25 year old employees to take charge. One of the girls, who was 23, was notorious for over-reacting to negative feedback from the customers (and employees) and locking herself in the bathroom to cry it out. I specifically remember the owner calling me hysterically on several occasions saying that Amy had locked herself in the bathroom again and she needed me to come in. I was 100% positive I was more mature than Amy.
The only guy employee at the shop was 25 and had just got back from being on the road with a local band. He had claimed this was just a pit stop until another tour started but he ended up staying there for a couple years – I was pretty sure I was more mature than him too. He just seemed too lost and always dreaming away his life talking about how he was going to become a big rock star and be a guitar engineer for the best bands in the world – yet he was saying all this while serving up a mediocre latte to a yuppie lawyer in the middle of nowhere, Indiana.
The last girl I distinctly remember had just graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington after 6 years of schooling and was just planning to work for the summer until she saved up enough money to move back down to Bloomington. Last time I went up there, she was on her 5th year working at the coffee shop. I’m still pretty sure I’m more mature than her.
As I approach 25, I know now that my idea of ‘mature’ was quite skewed and 100% naive. I based my judgement on the fact that I had a plan I was acting on – I was going to go to school that fall and leaving all of them in the exact same place of limbo that they were all stationed in. I had no idea how much being 23, 24, and 25 is actually about beginnings and you are lucky if you’ve just started to figure out what you want. I had no concept of the fact that things take time to grow and being in your middle 20’s is actually really freaking weird. I know now that the crying girl was probably just really lost and the confusions of life were getting her down. I also know that the guy is currently a guitar tech for Jimmy Eat World and travels all over the world for stadium shows with them. I’m not 100% sure where that last girl is but I do know she was still working there as of about a year ago. As for me? I’m quickly approaching 25 and starting to feel like the hot mess that I perceived all of them as.
These coffee shops stories have nothing to do with this tart. These stories merely have to do with the fact that I’ve been reflecting quite a bit lately, with my big 25 bday coming up, and baking has been a soothing inspiration for this. It’s crazy how much my mind wanders when I sift, mix, chop, bake, and devour yet it’s always a calm wandering – like a washing over me feeling. It’s almost as if the baking is helping me work out these memories to remind me what I learned from them and then file them away.
Blueberry Apricot Tart with Pistachio Crust recipe below:
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 6 fresh apricots, sliced in half and pits removed
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon flour
- For the crust: Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until finally ground (you want it to be the consistency of coarse flour but make sure to not pulse so much that the fats start breaking down into pistachio butter!).
- Add your flour and salt and pulse a few times until everything is combined.
- Use a stand mixer to beat the sugar and butter until creamed.
- Slowly pour in the flour mixture while the mixer is on medium low until the dough turns into a ball.
- Grease your pan and press your dough evenly along the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Transfer to fridge and let chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prick the crust all over with a fork. Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- For the filling: Arrange the apricots and blueberries in a single layer over the pie crust. Turn oven up to 350 degrees and whisk together the sour cream, vanilla, egg, honey, and flour. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let the pie cool completely before enjoying. Garnish with extra pistachios, if you'd like.