So Isa walks in and says, "You owe me a Valentine's Day post… it's Thursday." I said, “Let me get D settled in his breakfast chair and take a quick shower - I'll write it before I take Anna to the doctor. You’ll have it before 10am.” And that, in a nutshell, is our life ova here at #CasaMarcela. And I know it's not a good idea to curse when you're exploring partnerships, but it's like a ginormous shit-show. A beautiful, chaotic, sleep-deprived shit-show… that I wouldn't change for anything in the world! In fact, the only thing I would change would be to have the person to whom this post is dedicated a little closer.
I think it’s funny that people think I overshare; I feel like what I give you all on social media is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what happens in our home. And it's not because I'm all: "oh I want to keep it sacred.” It's more like I only have one pair of hands and one phone and a pretty tight schedule so I am physically unable to post more. Today I'll share a little more because I'm in fab spirits - Anna slept from 7pm to 3am! Side note: that's not all my doing - I found Mary Poppins! More on her and how I recovered my sanity in a later post! Actually, come to think of it, now you probably could care less about my Valentine’s Day post and really just want the secret to getting the 8 week old to sleep, huh? Let me know in the comments!
Anywho, this post is a big old thank you to my Valentine's honey, Philip. AKA Felipe. AKA Don Fe (who is just finding out about this nickname… Honey, that's how we refer to you here at #CasaMarcela).
Quick background: Philip and I practically lived together in LA when I was 19. I was in culinary school and he was in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency (now William Morris Endeavor) 20 years ago. We even have a story from those crazy party days on Sunset Boulevard that ended up in a tattoo parlor… but that’s one we are keeping just for us! Anyway, long story short, we dated. Then I went back to Mexico. We both got married. We both got divorced. The whole time, he was that distant friend/consigliere that you reach out to when you need advice, but we lived too far away from each other to ever think about it being more than that.
Then, I had one of those really cool breakdowns that lasts a few months. I guess not knowing what you really want to do with your life makes you do stupid things and not worry about consequences. I went on retreats, read books, did yoga, meditated, prayed, ran, detoxed, slept, cried, laughed, and finally, one day, sitting on the bench at the Chopra Center at the Omni La Costa (seriously used all my savings at the time and it was worth every penny!), I realized that I didn't really feel like seeing anyone but Fau. And yet somehow, Philip’s face kept popping up in my head. It was so simple. "Ugh,” I thought, “I just wanna hang with Philip. He's so kind. And smart. And calm. And generous. And filled with positivity. He's just... easy..." So I picked up the phone and called Don Fe. And a few months later, we were back together… and it felt as if those 20 years had never happened. A year later, along came David... and then Anna... and now here we are.
My story with Philip reminds me that, if you just relax and listen to your good side, things eventually work out. They worked out for us. That said, these days (as opposed to our LA days), we still have homes in different zip codes. And so my Valentine's wish is that the universe does me good. You see, I trust the universe; he always shows me love. So, Universe, you decide how, but please, please put us in the same zip code this year. When you do, I'll make Philip these tartlets. Actually, probably not; he doesn’t really eat carbs. So, basically, I guess these tartlets really have nothing to do with Philip. But they are really good! And he's really amazing, too!
So Happy Valentine’s Day, guero amor mío. And everybody - make these for your honey! If, of course, he or she eats carbs...
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
5 ounces Maria crackers* (about 1 pack or 32 crackers), or graham crackers
1/4 cup, packed minced piloncillo** (about 2 ounces), or packed brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cubed plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 (8-ounce) bars cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 envelope whipping powdered topping (about 1/4 cup powder)
6 individual tart tins with removable bottoms or 1 (9-inch) tin
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup dulce de leche
Raspberries, for garnish
Mix the raspberries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small bowl. Let the raspberries macerate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange 6 individual tartlet pans with removable bottoms on a baking sheet. Spray the tartlet pans with nonstick cooking spray. Blend the Maria crackers and the piloncillo in a processor until coarse crumbs form. Add 8 tablespoons butter and process until the crumbs come together. Press the crumbs into the prepared tartlet pans. Bake until the tartlet shells are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
In a small sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons butter and add 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Cook until sugar has melted. Cool completely. Reserve for garnish.
In a small sauce pan add chocolate chips and half and half. Melt chocolate chips at low heat and stir occasionally. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes. Smear chocolate ganache on 3 of the tartlets. And refrigerate until assembling tartlets.
Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese and the sour cream in a small bowl, until fluffy. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and whip until well combined. Add the whipping powdered topping and whip until very fluffy. Divide whipped mixture into two medium bowls.
Drain all but 1 tablespoons of the macerating liquid from the raspberries. Fold the raspberries and the reserved tablespoon of liquid into one of the cream mixtures. Spoon the raspberry filling over the 3 tartlets with chocolate ganache, dividing equally. Garnish with fresh raspberries and serve.
Fold in dulce de leche into the remaining cream mixture. Fold gently until dulce de leche swirls are formed. Divide dulce de leche cream into remaining tartlets and garnish with candied pecans and serve.
*Cook's Note: Maria Crackers (Galletas Marias) are a round sweet biscuit with vanilla flavor. They are the Mexican version of the English Marie biscuit and can be used in layered deserts as you would with lady fingers. They can easily be substituted with graham crackers.
**Cook's Note: Piloncillo is often used in Mexican cuisine to sweeten drinks or deserts. It is unrefined cane sugar, usually found in the shape of small cones and can be substituted with brown sugar.