Sunday, September 19, 2010

Butter Tarts

Our pie this week is actually our first cup-pie! Or tart, whatevs.

The butter tart is a really popular snack in Canada and you would be hard pressed to find a grocery store or even corner store that doesn’t sell them. In fact, in college (last time) I worked at a bakery and that’s all we made, butter tarts!

My fave filling is raisin but you will find plain, coconut, chocolate chip, even walnut and pecan versions out there. The beauty of this recipe to me is that you can make your shells and then fill each cup with different fillings before adding the butter tart filling. Like this :

We experimented with lots of different varieties.
Coconut & Coconut chocolate
Pecan & Pecan chocolate
The recipe we used is the one that my grandmother settled on after years of making butter tarts. At least that’s how I like to think she found it….she passed away when I was a baby but my aunt M.J. says this is the one!

Prize Butter Tarts
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt *
2 tbsp corn syrup *
½ cup raisins or chopped walnuts or other fillings

Make pastry into shells and chill.
Cream butter until soft, add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, corn syrup and vanilla and mix until combined.

Mix in raisins OR if you want to make lots of different types of tarts add fillings to the tart shells and spoon filling over. Only fill 2/3 full because if you overfill the tarts will overflow and stick to the pans. Bad. Bake at 400 degrees until set and golden brown. Watch the tarts carefully toward the end as they can go from golden to burned quickly. Yields 12-15 tarts, depending on how many nuts or raisins you use.
Let cool before eating.

* The salt and corn syrup are my additions to the recipe. 

A note about crust. You can use whatever pie crust recipe you want...even those pre-made shells from the freezer section. I'm on a quest for the perfect crust recipe and this week's recipe was the all butter pie crust from this  page. Simply Recipes is a food blog I read and her recipes are usually great. This one did not disappoint. I made the pastry the night before and chilled it in the tins overnight. It was a crisp flaky crust that i'm sure i'll use again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


This week we present Chess Pie, a southern favorite.
The original recipe was one I received from my friend Sherry Holt.
We made several alterations* to the recipe. The final product was quite tasty!

2 eggs
1 tsp flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract*
2 tsp cardamom*
1/2 tsp salt*
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 cup coconut
1 pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl , beat eggs, then whisk in sugar, cardamom, salt & flour. Whisk in butter, vanilla, almond extract & buttermilk. Sprinkle coconut in the bottom of unbaked pie shell, then pour filling over it. Bake until filling is golden & set, about 40-45 minutes.

Trouble shooting: The original recipe called for milk, we substituted buttermilk because other Chess Pie recipes we looked at included buttermilk. The butter didn't fully incorporate into the batter, but then the pie baked it melted right in. We placed the pie on a cookie sheet because we were afraid of it overflowing, but it did not, instead the crust in the center of the pie didn't bake fully. So avoid the cookie sheet! It was a little too sweet so we decided to add salt next time to offset that a little, and more cardamom. That was an addition of ours and we only used about a tsp this time and couldn't really taste it, the almond (another addition of ours) & coconut overpowered the cardamom flavor.

* Thanks to the chief pie taster for the loan of the chess pieces! :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Orange Meringue Pie

I chose an Orange Meringue Pie for this weeks endeavor. I found a marvelous recipe online that also supplied me with a wonderful, and very simple pie crust recipe.

The meringue method is also great, and one that I will use from now on.

This pie crust was easily prepared by hand, but a food processor may also be used.

Of course having a rolling pin would have made things much more simple, but mine seems to have gone missing. So a MagLite flashlight came in very handy. It was sanitized, I promise.

The recipe calls for the pie crust to be baked prior to filling it. It turned out wonderfully buttery and flaky.
The filling was a simple, required cooking, and was almost a pudding or custard consistency. You have to work quickly, so have all your ingredients laid out and ready.

The meringue was fun to make, if time consuming, but it turned out so pretty! Then we piled the meringue on top, fashioning shiny little peaks.

Then it was time to bake. Just enough to brown the meringue, caramelizing the sugars.

Refrigerate until cool. I recommend letting it get cold. I think it tastes better that way. Then the perfect slice.

I am so excited at how well this came out. Its absolutely perfect. And delicious.