Anyone who knows me knows the story of how I met my husband, Gavin.
I worked at the most wonderful restaurant in D.C., Ted’s Bulletin.
I’d worked there since it opened in May 2010, when I’d first moved to D.C., in the role of server, then bartender, then host.
On the morning of September 10, 2011, I was working the host stand.
I was actually scheduled to serve that evening, but I told my friend, the manager, that I wanted to shift back to hosting, so she let me work the morning as host instead.
And I will never be able to repay her for that.
Because at around 10am that morning, the most beautiful man I’d ever laid eyes on walked into the restaurant, and my life would never be the same.
I remember two things distinctly about that morning:
1. For some unknown reason, there was only a 5 minute wait for brunch that morning. If you know Ted’s Bulletin, you know that the line for brunch on any given day — but especially on Saturday mornings — is at least an hour long. Why there was no line that morning remains a mystery. But I’m sure glad it was short, because Gavin’s since admitted that they probably would’ve gone elsewhere instead of waiting. Whew. Crisis averted.
2. Gavin was wearing an ice blue polo that day. I know this because when he walked in, I abandoned my host stand to run to the back and get all of the servers, managers, and kitchen staff to look at “the gorgeous guy who just walked in in the ice blue polo.” My goodness. Swoon.
When I composed myself and went up to take his name for a table, we struck up casual (Read: I was beside myself) conversation, and I discovered his grad school program shared the floor with mine at George Washington University.
(We also later realized that we’d met at a POLITICO event months earlier when I’d picked lint off his jacket as we waited for the elevator. Needless to say, he was not ready for Cara at that meeting. He gets me now. lol)
Anyway, the reason he was at Ted’s that morning was because 1. it was his birthday the next day, and 2. Ted’s makes the best biscuits and gravy in the entire city.
His parents were in town from Montana for the weekend, so he took them to the famous breakfast place.
(And yes, that means I got to meet his parents before our first date. I’d recommend this to anyone. Takes a whole lot of pressure of that official “first” meeting when you meet the parents before you meet the guy.)
Since it was his birthday, I decided to have his server, Sydney, bring Gavin a famous blueberry cheesecake Ted’s Tart with a candle in it.
…And I bet now you’re wondering how the heck we ended up here, married with a kid?
Well, as he was leaving, I abandoned my host stand once again (Sorry, customers!) and grabbed his arm. I printed out some receipt paper, wrote down my number, and handed it to him as he walked out.
He texted me a few hours later, and then the rest was history.
A history which has involved lots of love, sprinkles, and even a giant batch of mini Ted’s Tarts at our wedding, courtesy of the Ted’s Bulletin pastry chefs and management!
Needless to say, one of the hardest parts of leaving D.C. was saying goodbye to my beloved Ted’s.
This summer, I wanted to see if I could recreate their delicious pastry in my own kitchen. I was shocked to see how easily I could!
[Disclaimer: These are nowhere near as delicious as Ted’s’. In fact, no Pop Tart variation ever will be. That’s why they’re famous across the country. But these serve as a tasty comfort when you’re missing your D.C. extended family.]
Blueberry Cheesecake Homemade Ted’s Tart
To make this treat, you’ll need the following ingredients:
Pillsbury pre-made pie crust
Duncan Hines blueberry pie filling
Jell-O No Bake cheesecake filling (Filling only, no crust)
1 2/3 cup cold milk
1 egg (optional)
Okay, now bear with me as I reveal how insanely simple this is, and what a cheat of a “baker” I am.
**Remember: Assembly over oven.
…Although in this case you’ll need an oven, too.***
1. Speaking of, preheat your oven to 425 degrees
2. Make your Jell-O cheesecake mix
Mix the Jell-O filling with 1 2/2 cups milk until thick. Then, put that sucker in refrigerator Time Out while you whip up the shells.
3. To make the crusts, start by taking one of the pre-made pie crusts out of the box (each box contains two — woo!)
4. Unroll the pie crust onto a flat surface and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin layer
5. Cut the crust into rectangles in the size your prefer
I’ve made these in ‘normal Pop Tart size’ as well as ‘mini Pop Tart size,’ and both worked flawlessly, so the size is up to you. They don’t have to be perfect, either. Because who wants to eat a perfect Pop Tart, amiright? (Answer: Anyone who likes original Pop Tarts lol)
6. Lay the rectangles onto a parchment paper-lined pan
7. Take your cheesecake filling out of the refrigerator (it should be Jell-O consistency, and solid-ish to the touch)
8. Put a dollop of cheesecake onto each rectangle
Keep in mind that you’ll need to shut the top layer of the tart, so don’t go overboard. But know that if you do, your tart will still shut, and it will be no less delicious either way!
9. Then, add half a spoonful or so of blueberry pie filling on top of the cheesecake filling
If you’re going Ted’s all the way, you’ll use fresh blueberries instead of blueberry pie filling. But I never want to see my waistline again, so…
10. Next, unroll the second piece of pre-made pie crust from the box onto a flat surface and repeat steps 4 and 5
11. Take each newly rolled rectangle and lay it onto the filling-covered crusts on the tray
12. Then, use a fork to ‘crimp’ the sides so they seal
Don’t be alarmed if some of your filling oozes out – That happens! Just make sure you seal thoroughly, since otherwise your layers won’t connect and you’ll end up with more of a sandwich than a tart.
13. If you want, use a brush to add a little eggwash (legit just a beaten egg) onto the tops of your tarts
This will give them the lovely brown and crisp we love in pies!
14. Place your tray in the preheated oven for about 7-10 minutes for regular sizes, and about 4-5 minutes for mini tarts
15. While your tarts are heating, you can prepare your simple icing
Simply combine confectioners’ sugar and milk until the consistency is about that of toothpaste. It should be liquid and run, but it shouldn’t dribble right off the spoon.
16. Once your tarts are a nice golden brown, pull them from the oven and let them cool completely
17. Then, paint them with your icing and add sprinkles to taste
Ted’s uses a lovely blue and purple mix on their blueberry cheesecake tarts, but I had a bunch of rainbows lying around, so I opted for those.
And with that, you’re done!
These things won’t taste quite like a Ted’s Tart, but dang it feels good to have them back in my life again!
If you’re ever visiting D.C. or the area, make sure you go to Ted’s Bulletin. Seriously. You will NOT be disappointed. And you might even end up meeting the love of your life!