Universe Hearts Tart

Recipes

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A dark chocolate ganache with pomegranate syrup and pomegranate seed garnish, inspired by “On Foot I Wandered Through the Solar Systems” by Edith Södergran.

I recently gave a talk at Fieldston Middle School in the Bronx about books, pie, my day job in publishing, and how rewarding it can be to pursue what you love. To be sure that everyone was on the same page and knew the texts we’d be sampling in pie form, I selected a couple of poems that we could read together. In an effort to diversify and branch out from the typical canon (i.e., read someone other than an old, white, American/British dude), I drew on Haley’s knowledge of obscure international poetry. The poem that she recommended, “On Foot I Wandered Through the Solar Systems,” immediately became one of my favorites for its bold feminine courage and empathy.

The Devil’s Night Fire Tart

Recipes

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A cognac crème brûlée tart inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

Magical realism is probably my favorite genre; I like how introducing the fantastic into an existing political or social context engages both my imagination and my (somewhat pretentious) analytical sensibilities. I think in spite of unusual occurrences in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, most people would describe it as a satire or political novel before they would call it a fantasy. But I think it is both, and so much more besides!

The Bennet Sisters’ Tea Tart

Recipes

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Chocolate ganache infused with lavender and earl grey in a lemon sweet pastry crust, inspired by Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Can you believe that after earning a bachelors degree in English I still hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice? Somehow we just never crossed paths in the classroom. It seems criminal not only to have never read Pride and Prejudice, but to have never read any Jane Austen at all! Especially considering how much I enjoy romantic tension built on people not touching. (Give me pithy banter and absurd social decorum, I love me a period piece.) I was appropriately ashamed of the hole in my education, and rectified the oversight with a tart.

The Wonderland Tart

Recipes

Rose and white chocolate custard studded with fresh raspberries in a Nilla wafer and gingersnap combination crust, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland specifically for this project. For me, it belonged to that list of books that every college professor and classmate assumes you’ve read and so you must smile and nod when they talk about them, lest you look like an illiterate buffoon in front of your academic peers. (Other books on this list include, Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, and most of Jane Austen’s work.) Now, having read it, I can see why it has such a fanatic following: it has a staggering amount of depth for such a slim volume.