Family bonds during Christmas by making a holiday dessert - Catholic Courier
An apple cut into the shape of a rose is in a dish.

The apple rose tarts the Rivera family made. (Photo by Ed Rivera)

Family bonds during Christmas by making a holiday dessert

My husband, Ed, was a great cook. He taught our two sons well. On the weekends, the kitchen came alive with their laughter and playfulness. They created delicious food like gourmet pizzas, cookies and breads, and fancy food like beef Wellington. Yum! Cooking together was one way we stayed connected as a couple and as a family.

I was the weekday cook. I was Taco Tuesday and Pasta Wednesday. I kept the boys and Ed fed, but my cooking wasn’t fancy. You knew the day of the week by what was in front of you.

December 2019, our last Christmas as a family before Ed left for heaven, I decided to surprise Ed by nervously suggesting we, our sons and our younger son’s fiancé, Sarah (who is now his wife), make easy rose apple tarts that I saw in a video on the Internet.

Sarah and Sean Rivera (Photo by Ed Rivera)

They excitedly encouraged me. We followed the video instructions. There was laughter, fun and conversation while we worked together.

We placed each apple rose in individual small, white, round ceramic ramekins. While the tarts were baking, I said quiet Hail Marys asking the Blessed Mother to help them come out well so the rose tarts would honor her, since roses are often associated with her.

Coming out of the oven, they looked beautiful and smelled great. The apple petal edges had browned just enough to define the rose shape. The final touch was lightly tapping powdered sugar on top. Voila! They were delicious.

Ed took a picture of Sean and Sarah holding their roses. The memories of that time make me smile remembering the many special times Ed, the boys and I cooked together as a family in our tiny galley kitchen. I can feel Ed saying, “Mary CHRISTmas” from heaven.

Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020.

The 2023 Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends are April 14-16, Sept. 15-17 and Nov. 10-12. All weekends take place at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit

Tags: Christmas
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