A Great Excuse for Butter Tarts

Our Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Since my husband isn’t farming anymore, we can look forward to having him at the table with us, instead of harvesting soybeans as in other years. Farmers missing Thanksgiving dinner is something of an unfortunate tradition in our corner of the country. I think American Thanksgiving is at a better time, because at the end of November, the people who help to produce the food we are thankful for actually have a better chance of sitting at the table.

But I disgress…I showed up to talk about butter tarts.

I love baking. I don’t mind cooking, and my family tells me I do a pretty good job of it, but cooking usually feels like something I “have” to do. Baking is optional, and so it just makes sense that baking is more fun. I have to admit, though, that pie crust is not my specialty, so this summer, I decided to hone my skills by making butter tarts for the first time ever. I was happy that they turned out well–not so pretty, necessarily–but they tasted good, and the crust wasn’t a disaster.tarts 5

I was so proud of myself that I took a picture of them, and texted it to my 17-year-old son. Considering he was out of the province for the next month, maybe that wasn’t very nice of me. His reply was swift and clear: “NOOOOOOOOOO!!! I’m not home to eat them! No fair!!” Needless to say, when he came home, I made a second batch, and he felt better.

This evening’s efforts represent Batch Number Three. I’ve been dreaming of butter tarts for a couple of weeks now, and I finally had (gasp!) a few unscheduled hours at home tonight. Out came my mémé’s rolling pin, and my grandmother’s baking tin. I rummaged through my recipe books to come up with the two recipes I needed, and got down to business.tarts 1The dough rolled beautifully–well, at least in comparison to how it sometimes goes.

tarts 2I had a little trouble finding a cup or bowl of the right size to cut the shells. Some of them were a little awkward. Maybe we’ll just say they look a little rustic.

tarts 3I was a little worried when they came out of the oven all puffed up, but they quickly settled. I’m pretty sure that the patina of use on my grandmother’s baking tin was probably enhanced by a few batches of these.

tarts 4The finished product–they’re a little lopsided, and a bit irregular, but my kids dove in to do quality control and assured me they turned out fine.

I’ll need to make time to bake a few more batches this week, and stash them in the freezer. When we get together next weekend, all 35 people in my family are planning to be there, and there will likely be more joining us. So, I don’t plan to show up with just a few. And with 18 grandkids, I’m pretty sure my dad won’t be missing dinner for the bean harvest anymore. At this time of year, I think it’s safe to say, that whether it’s turkey, scalloped potatoes, pumpkin pie or butter tarts…there’s no better excuse to forget about everything else and just enjoy some time together.

P.S. Many thanks to Robyn, author of “You Are Enough” (Daily Prompt) for the nudge to get writing again!

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