Though the change of seasons isn’t dramatic in the Bay Area, I’ve been noticing the familiar rustle of fallen leaves skipping across the sidewalks in the wind. It started a few weeks ago, just when I had begun hoping for it, and the tightness in my chest—from stress, from worry—relaxed at the familiar sound.
I love fall, what with its warm soups and autumnal baked treats and thick sweaters and crunchy, colored leaves. But I also love the change, and how that change makes me feel. I want to be pushed into a new moment, to be forced out of one set routine into another, to see things anew when I assume I know the landscape.
I’m not one who avoids change at all costs, nor one who truly thrives on it. I love the adventures and challenges that only come when life shifts, but I also get comfortable and cozy in the meantime. The most unwanted changes are generally out of our control—we lose jobs or opportunities, people we love pass away, we have to move when we had intended to stay. And many good changes are out of our hands, too.
Yet change is also conscious, especially the sort that makes us grow and drives us toward our purpose, and it can be difficult to move toward it, especially when we’ve finally gotten the house tidy and have our slippers on.
But the shifting seasons? They’re blissfully out of our control. And they remind us that we can handle change. Sometimes I’m not ready for what nature throws—Michigan’s blizzards, for example, or crisp fall winds when I wasn’t quite done with summer. But every time, I find goodness: remembering how lovely a fire feels when one is very, very cold, or how deliciously autumnal fruits pair with sweet pastry, or how enlivened I am by that which is new.
This year, the change of seasons is mirrored by changes in my life. New work, new friendships, new challenges, new trials. Though some days I’m quite sure I could do without the trials, it is fitting for this to happen alongside the changing seasons, as if I, too, am following the trajectory of earth around sun. I know that if I push through, I’ll be abundantly glad.
And those glowing moments of goodness will come—they always do.
Raw Pear & Mascarpone Tarts
Makes 4 small (4-inch) tarts
FOR THE CRUST
3/4 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup raw almonds
5 fresh Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of sea salt
FOR THE FILLING
1 cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream, lightly whipped
2 to 3 small, ripe pears, such as Seckel pears, thinly sliced
Cinnamon for dusting, optional
First, make the crust. Place the pepitas and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is powdery but small pieces of seeds and nuts remain. Add the dates, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Process again, continuing until the mixture is sticky and beginning to hold together.
Press the nut and seed mixture evenly into the tart pans. Place in the refrigerator to chill until needed, or up to a couple hours.
Next, make the filling. In a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone, honey and vanilla with a spatula until evenly combined and thick. (Don’t use a mixer for these steps—you’re looking for a frosting-like consistency and appearance.) Gently fold in the heavy cream. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tart pans.
Decorate the tarts with the slices of pears. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon. Chill until ready to serve.