Archive for August, 2006

2-Bite Butter Tarts

August 27, 2006

 spent the weekend playing Martha Stewart and consequently, I am no longer allowing myself to eat anything but celery and carrots for the next two weeks so that my cholesterol level decreases some, and the tightish feeling around where my waistline should be goes away. It was all worth it though. Butter tarts are delicious.

The history of the butter tart is disputed as are the variations on the recipe. Similar to the American Pecan Pie, as well as Quebec’s Tarte au Sucre and the Ecclefechan tart recipe known in Scotland, the butter tart has been claimed as the Canadian Recipe, which dates back to the early 1800s. Purists say no raisins or nuts belong in a true butter tart, but I never follow instructions, so mine contain pecans and bourbon.

Yields 24 little tarts or 12 big ones.

Pate Brisee (short crust pastry)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into slices or cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Begin your pastry by combining the flour, salt and sugar. Then add butter and mix (either with a processor or by hand) until its coarse and crumbly.
Add water slowly and continue to mix until it holds together when pinched. Then wrap it in plastic & refridgerate for at least one hour.

Roll dough out from the centre (I found that by taking small bits and working with them, it was easier than using the whole wad at once) and cut into 10cm circles, using a cookie cutter or a small bowl. Place rounds into a 12-cup muffin tin and chill in the fridge.

You may prepare this ahead of time, but you will need to reheat it to boiling each time you let it cool. Do not let this boil for longer than 2-3 seconds, or you risk scientific intervention and your filling won’t be runny enough.

4 large eggs
2/3 cup unsalted, soft butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup half & half cream (10% butterfat)
2 tsp bourbon or vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins or nuts

Whisk eggs in a medium sized saucepan. Add butter, sugar and cream and whisk over low heat, and stir constantly, adding heat in increments.  Slowly bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Add bourbon or vanilla, and stir well.  Bring your muffin pan out from the fridge & line each with a few pieces of chopped nuts or raisins.

Then, spoon filling into the cups, garnish with nuts or raisins & bake at 375f for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry has browned nicely. Remove from oven, allow to cool and then serve.


More Summer Eats

August 11, 2006

While the weather seems to have calmed down a bit, it is still very much summertime here  in Southern Ontario, lots of herbs and lovely delicious vegetables bursting away on stalks, ready to be eaten are growing away happily and I’m very happy to be eating them.

I feel slightly guilty for buying my produce from Dominion last night and can only imagine what local food would have made the gazpacho I put together taste like, for the imported and greenhouse grown stuff I combined together was quite flavourful.  And it was easy to make, too!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • 1/4 red or white onion 
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup coriander
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups tomato juice

Feel free to add anything else you have on hand that tastes delicious raw.  Celery, avocado, zucchini, even carrots or parsnips in small quantity.  Cut and dice everything up, and throw them into a food processor or blender and pulse until very finely combined.

Add a dash of salt and lots of pepper, and then transfer to a glass bowl.  Refridgerate for at least 2 hours.  Then, serve with an Italian soave wine and of course, enjoy!