A Vintage Butter Tart Recipe

It is raining this Labour Day, so what better to do than bake up a batch of what I consider to be the best butter tarts? Apparently there is some debate as to whether butter tart fillings are better with nuts rather than raisins, syrupy rather than firm. I prefer them with raisins and a firm filling, and the following recipe is the one I return to every time. It is from my mother’s old Purity Flour cookbook from the 1940’s. Butter tarts-1

 

2 eggs

2 cups brown sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar (I use cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups raisins (I use Thompson raisins)

Pastry (I use Glutino pastry mix)

Beat eggs only until whites and yolks are well blended. Beat in sugar and add vinegar and vanilla. Stir in the  melted butter and raisins.

Line tart tins with pastry and fill  1/2 to 2/3 full with butter mixture. Bake in hot (425 degree F) oven for the first 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to a moderate (350 degree F) and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until filling is firm. Place tins on cooling rack.This recipe makes 24 small tarts or 12  2″-sized tarts.

Every time I bake a batch of these I remember back to the first summer of my  marriage. I had baked 4 dozen tarts in preparation for a family reunion the following day. After they were cooled and removed from the tins, I put them away and left home to go to my job. After my shift, I returned home to find DH and his friend sitting at the kitchen table happily munching their way through all four dozen tarts! Well, if that isn’t testimony to how good these are, I don’t know what is.

What ever you are doing this Labour Day, I hope it is something you love to do. Enjoy.

 

 

Another Zucchini Recipe

If you have zucchini plants growing in your garden, chances are that it is now providing an abundance of fruit.

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If not watched carefully, the fruits grow into mammoth proportions. This has happened to us a few times this summer! Fortunately, there are hundreds of ways to use zucchini of all sizes. DH has chopped up the really large ones to make into relish. I have spiralized a few to make “spaghetti”, sliced several lengthwise to make “lasagna” and shredded the smaller ones to make into zucchini bread.

Gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 small – medium sized zucchini, shredded

6 Tablespoons cocoa

2 cups almond flour

6 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered stevia (or sugar, if preferred)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

3 large eggs

6 tablespoons extra light olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 4 small loaf pans.

Shred the zucchini and put into a paper towel lined colander to absorb excess moisture.

Using a wire whisk, combine all the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

Stir the eggs and oil together.

Press as much moisture as you can from the zucchini, then  add it and the egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Mix everything together and divide into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely before slicing.

Tip: This zucchini bread freezes very well.

 

 

 

A New Cookie Recipe

Every Christmas season I like to try one new  cookie recipe to add to our family celebration. This year I found a recipe for Chocolate-mint cookies in one of our local newspapers and knew it was the one!

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Chocolate-Mint Cookies

1 lb. dark semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped)

1/2 cup butter cut into 8 pieces

4 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup crushed peppermint candies (or crushed candy cane)

Combine half the chocolate chips and all the unsweetened chocolate in a medium metal bowl (or saucepan). Place the bowl over a larger saucepan of simmering water to melt the chocolate, and stir it often.  The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Remove the bowl from the heat as soon as all the chocolate has melted.

Beat the eggs and sugar with your mixer for about 10 minutes at medium speed. Mix in the vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture using a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and fold it in until just incorporated. Mix in the crushed peppermint candy and the remaining chocolate chips. Cover and chill the mixture overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and scoop out the dough into  walnut sized balls, spacing them 1 inch apart on the paper. Bake one sheet at a time in the middle of the oven about 11 minutes. Let the cookies sit on their sheet five minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Store in a covered container in a cool place.

This recipe makes about 90 cookies.

Tip: The large end of a melon scoop is perfect for shaping your cookies. 

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Teddy_ILM-1
Our beloved Teddy 2010 – 2017

 

A Rite of Spring

Way back, when those lovely spring days seemed to last forever, one simple pleasure in our garden was to pull out a stalk or two of this beautiful vegetable, called rhubarb. We’d dip its end in a handful of sugar and munch away enjoying the lovely combination of tart, sweet and crunch.

I suppose it is this nostalgic fondness for rhubarb that made me delighted when a DC offered to dig up a few crowns from his patch so that I could grow my own. Now my rhubarb has been in place for  three years and is well established and vigorous. This past weekend I pulled a large bundle of stalks, discarded the noxious leaves and proceeded to prepare my version of Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble.rhubarb-1

The Recipe:

6-8 rhubarb stalks

1 quart strawberries, sliced (I used frozen ones)

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 cup sour cream

1 cup granulated stevia (for baking)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Trim  the root ends (the white-ish part) from the rhubarb stalks, and discard.  Chop the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine the rhubarb pieces with the strawberries in a greased 1 1/2 quart ovenproof casserole dish. Mix together the cornstarch, sweetener, cinnamon and sour cream and pour over the fruit mixture.

Crumble together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free all-purpose flour), 1/4 cup Demerara sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon with 1/4 cup softened butter ( or coconut oil), until the mixture is well blended. Distribute evenly over the fruit – sour cream mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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This makes about 6 generous servings. Enjoy!

Tip: When using a stoneware or pyrex-type baker, place it on a metal baking sheet before putting in a pre-heated oven to avoid thermal shock.

What childhood memories do you have, if any, about enjoying the spring garden?

Simply Scones

 

It appears that March is going out “like a lion”. This morning has begun with a downpour, further drenching our already saturated yard. What a great reason to bake up a batch of these simply superb scones!

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Just for you, the recipe:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup milk which has been “soured” with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425℉.

Stir the dry ingredients and orange peel together in a large bowl.

Use your fingers (or a pastry blender) to combine the butter with the flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs. Then stir in the soured milk with a fork until combined. Form the dough into a ball and place onto the baking sheet.

Flatten the dough into an 8 inch (20cm) round**. Cut the dough into eight wedges and spread them out onto the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush a small amount of milk onto the scone tops and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

This makes eight scones. Serve warm or cold, with or without butter. (The orange rind gives  a lovely fresh flavour to them.)

*I use gluten free all-purpose flour when I bake for our home. My favourite all-purpose flour is one made for the “Presidents Choice” brand, because it doesn’t contain rice flour.

** Tip: If you spread your hand open, the span from thumb tip to baby finger tip is close to 8 inches. No need to get out the ruler. 🙂