As of today, Lisa's Kitchen is officially one year old! Thank you to all of my regular readers for your encouraging comments and insightful ideas. I've met some special people over the course of the past year due to my blogging efforts, and for that I'll remain forever grateful. I started this site on my Mom's birthday but, sadly, my Mom is no longer here to brighten the days of all those who were fortunate enough to appreciate and enjoy her food, kindness and unconditional love for her family. I'm thankful she at least got a brief glimpse of my efforts here as my mother was one of my earliest culinary influences.
I can't think of a better way to remember my Mom and celebrate one year of cooking from Lisa's Kitchen than by sharing my Mom's best ever butter tart recipe. My Mom was a master of pastry. Her pies and tarts always turned out perfectly. Though she was a good cook and excellent baker, her butter tarts are most fondly remembered by all who tasted them as some of the best they ever had. The filling is gooey but not runny, making it a perfect indulgence to enjoy without a fork. Store-bought varieties of this classic Canadian treat simply pale in comparison.
I've had success in the past with pastry, but I must admit that I still struggle with it. Take my first attempt at making these tarts, for example. Although I understand that it is essential to use cold ingredients in order to produce a flaky, light tart shell, I was impatient to get baking and so did not chill the shortening long enough. I also overworked the dough and rolled it out too thin. The result was a rather tough, sticky pastry that tore when I transferred it to the muffin tins.
Not a good start, especially considering that I had already prepared the filling. Thankfully for those unfortunate enough to be around me when I'm making pastry, my once fierce temper has abated significantly. Instead of throwing the dough across the room — as I have been known to do! — I merely muttered some oaths and punched the failed lump of waste before transferring the majority of it to the trash can. Then I had a cigarette before trying again.
They didn't work out quite as well as my Mom's, but the filling tasted just as I had remembered it, with a slightly stronger vanilla taste because I doubled the amount called for in the recipe. Even the most classic recipes can sometimes be improved upon.
Usually I use butter for my pastry, but in the interest of documenting my Mom's recipe faithfuly, I've followed her version, provided here, which uses shortening instead. Feel free to substitute your own favored pastry recipe.
|Mom's Classic Butter Tarts|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on March 18, 2008
My Mom's perfect butter tarts — sweet brown sugar and butter filling in a flaky pastry tart crust