What Is the Greatest Gift?


Chocolate Espresso Lemon Crusted Tart

What is the greatest gift?

by Mary Oliver

What is the greatest gift?

Could it be the world itself — the oceans, the meadowlark,

the patience of the trees in the wind?

Could it be love, with its sweet clamor of passion?

Something else — something else entirely

holds me in thrall.

That you have a life that I wonder about

more than I wonder about my own.

That you have a life — courteous, intelligent —

that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own.

That you have a soul — your own, no one else’s —

that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own.

So that I find my soul clapping its hands for yours

more than my own.

Will & Cait

My children will always be my greatest gifts and forever Valentines. Here is a recipe for the love in your life.


This tart is rich and brings me back to a most wonderful trip to Italy and another reason to indulge in the exotic Fiori di Sicilia flavoring. Chocolate-lemon-espresso seems strange, but strangely it works in a most complimentary way.



Chocolate Espresso Lemon Crusted Tart

2 cups lemon snap cookie crumbs (I use Stauffer Brand)

6 tablespoons melted butter

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups milk

4 egg yolks

2 ounces 90% cocoa chocolate squares (I used Lindt)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia

Garnish: fresh whipped cream, chocolate covered coffee beans, lemon zest strips

Heat oven 350F. Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press thickly up sides and then onto bottom of a 9 to 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then place in freezer. Prepare filling. In medium saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, espresso powder and salt. In a bowl, whisk milk and egg yolks until well blended. Pour milk mixture into saucepan whisking well. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Drop chocolate squares on to surface of hot filling; let stand 30 seconds. Add butter and flavoring and whisk until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into well-chilled pie shell. Cover surface of pie with plastic wrap to avoid skin formation. Chill. Garnish as desired.


Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you to Doreen who so kindly found me and shared this most beautiful poem.

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