Tart Time

So I guess every baker has a story of how they got into the craft. Mine involves a short and stout woman, known as ‘Nan’. She’s one of the most delightful and wonderful women in my life – a true inspiration and talented baker. She’ll change your life with one of her butter tarts, and make your waist slightly rounder with her catch phrase “Are you sure that’s enough butter?” And aside from the fact that she’s an extremely hard worker, and awesome baker, she’s hilarious. I can’t get enough of the woman – she’s a sweet Irish lady with too many dirty jokes.
So butter tarts are her ‘thing’. When I was about 14, my Nan insisted that I come visit her for a weekend to learn the trade – the pastry secrets, I happily obliged. Before we began she gave me a pen and paper, asking that I write the recipe down and keep it in a safe spot… I guess you could say I kind of did that. I hid the damn recipe so well I can’t find it, so the other night when I decided to bake a batch, I made a quick phone call (which actually always turns into quite a lengthy conversation) to my Nan, to spill the secrets… this time I typed out the recipe. Excitingly enough, I found out she updated her filling recipe with a new ‘secret ingredient’ which I can honestly say, makes for a richer and lovelier tart.
So first things first, the pastry. I am NO pastry expert… I hardly make the stuff and this is the second time (on my own) that I have ever made butter tarts. It ain’t easy, I tell ya, but I did it, and it worked out pretty good. I use Tenderflake for my pastry cause that’s what Nan uses and I follow the recipe on the box, but I also add sometime special too, which I cannot disclose at this current time. Unfortunately I didn’t have a cutter/cup that was large enough for the tart pans, so they ended up being kind of ‘short’ which interfered with pastry to filling ratio. I made two types: plain and pecan… I have this thing against raisin butter tarts. I also cut the pastry pretty thick. I guess what it comes down to is, I need to make butter tarts more often… the only way to perfect my skillz is to keep makin’ em. My oven is pretty temperamental so baking pastry can be somewhat daunting, but a few batches later and I can foresee much prettier and tastier results. The Lawson’s have a particular way of eating butter tarts – it starts with two tarts, a bowl of ice cream and some maple syrup – place warmed tarts and maple syrup atop the bowl of ice cream and consume immediately (Warning: This could result in a sugar coma) And as much as I would love to share this family secret recipe, I simply cannot… Joy of Baking does have a very similar one though, which can be found here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/ButterTarts.html

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