6 NOVEMBER, 2013

Horio’s Kitchen Adventures – Greek Jam Tart

I told him he needn’t worry about dessert – I would take care of it. The little bakery next to my office was heaven on earth – every inch cared for, adding its beauty: atop the wooden tables, adorned with danty, embroidered white lace, a crowd formed of vases filled with butter cookies, aluminum trays with crispy kantaifi dessert and beautifully-designed rows of traditional Greek jam tarts – pasta flora.

One of those beauties was going home with me so that I could take with me to G’s parents’ anniversary party. It was his mom’s favorite dessert, one that was never absent from any of their dining tables, provoking any and all present to deny themselves the pleasure of a bite: birthday parties, celebrations, anniversaries, weddings – all accompanied by pasta flora. I even spotted the dessert in pictures from one of the children’s masquerade parties! Of course, in an ideal scenario I would make the pasta flora myself. It would of course have to be up to the family standards, in which case, my stock value would skyrocket in the In-Law Stock exchange. However, dinner was this Friday and when the prize is a favorite dessert of this caliber and time is of the essence, it is always safer to go with the professional’s offering.

So, I picked the most perfect pasta flora and went to the office holding the box ever so carefully: not to drop it, crush it, tilt it too much – I know, it’s funny to be so stressed over how you hold a dessert box. Even so, there are moments where you just wish you hadn’t even had the thought, because from the moment that you think it, disaster looms. Disaster struck me a few hours after the thought, as I rummaged through my bag to find my keys, I saw the box slide off of the hood of the car (where I had placed it for safe-keeping!) and the pasta flora landing right into the mud. Shock struck: what do I do now? The closest bakery was at least 20 minutes away and another 20 to get back – forty minutes – and what if I didn’t find it? Was I to search in each bakery in the city? And mainly, what was I to tell G.?

A few seconds before I had reached the state of total breakdown, like manna from up above, the telephone rang: it was K., my cousin, who lived one floor above me. Five minutes later, she was at my doorstep, along with a jar of apricot jam and a notebook in which she help all her cherished recipes. «Don’t worry about a thing, I’m here. Do you have butter?» I opened the fridge and with enthusiasm I grabbed the Horio Cow’s Butter – my faithful companion in all my imaginative kitchen adventures. «Since you have butter we can make pasta flora – they won’t be able to get enough! Plus, this recipe is endorsed by Elias Mamalakis, thank you very much!» Everything else is a foggy memory. I remember K. effortlessly  preparing the pasta flora, smiling from ear to ear, almost glowing. Playing with the confectioner sugar. I carefully layed the strips of dough on the surface of the jam. Laughing, teasing each other. In the end, the kitchen was bursting with aromas from years past, which reminds one that no matter what happens, however many setbacks life might have in storte for you, there will also be our loved ones near by. During good and bad times.

M. bakes in Marathonas.

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