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Day 166: Cosmos & Cupcakes, party snacks and Butter Tarts

No wonder I don’t feel well.

I was emceeing the Gallery Calorie event for the Artemis Charitable Foundation this afternoon/evening – a fantastic and fun event that included restaurant and gallery hopping followed by live music, mini pies from Simple Simon, bacon wrapped scallops from Ceili’s, mini cupcakes from Buttercream Bakeshoppe, martinis and a silent auction (a bad combination for me – although I’m sure that’s the idea).

Mike picked me up from the fundraiser and we headed straight over to C & J’s to celebrate C’s 40th birthday. Since we weren’t supposed to bring gifts, I made a batch of butter tarts – one of his favorites – which Mike forgot to bring when he came to pick me up. Or rather, I forgot to tell him to grab off the countertop. So when we got home at the end of the night they were still there. Perhaps I’ll drop off the slightly smaller batch tomorrow.


Butter Tarts

Recipe link

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June 15, 2008

  • Makes: Makes about 18 butter tarts.


Pastry for a single crust pie

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

a handful of raisins, currants, and/or chopped pecans (optional)


1Preheat oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out 1/4" thick. Cut out circles using a 4" cookie cutter or empty can, and press into ungreased muffin cups.

2In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the raisins and pecans, if you're using them. Fill the tart shells about 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Take them out of the pan using a thin knife to coax them out while they are still warm, otherwise any goo that has bubbled over will stick to the pan as it cools. If it does, pop them back in the oven for a minute to soften it again. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes: Makes about 18 butter tarts.

Grandma Woodall’s “Never-fail” Pastry

Recipe link

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June 15, 2008

This will give you enough pastry to line a 9” pie plate; double it to make enough for two pies or a double crust. Some pie bakers swear by a teaspoon of vinegar added to their water to discourage the formation of gluten and make a tender crust, but it’s not necessary. Using all shortening instead of a combination of shortening and butter is OK too.


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1/4 cup shortening, chilled and cut into pieces

2-4 Tbsp. ice-cold water

1 tsp. vinegar (optional, stir it into the water)


1In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and shortening and use a fork, pastry blender, wire whisk or the “pulse” motion of the food processor to blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal, with lumps of fat no bigger than a pea.

2Drizzle the minimum amount of water over the mixture and stir until the dough comes together, adding a little more a bit at a time if you need it. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic and chill it for at least half an hour. If you are making a double crust pie, divide the dough in half, making one half slightly larger than the other.

3 (Your pastry can be prepared up to this point and frozen for up to 4 months; let it thaw on the countertop when you need it.


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3 comments on “Day 166: Cosmos & Cupcakes, party snacks and Butter Tarts

  1. vera
    November 6, 2008 at 11:19 am

    What a wonderful recipes for butter tarts
    Thanks so much!!

  2. Dawn Robinson
    August 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm


    I have a problem Im hoping you can help me with. Im making cupcakes for a friends wedding in September, and I am trying to find dark blue cupcake wrappers, as well as the eco-friendly cupcake stands, the ones you can put together yourself. My research on line has lead me to the utterly frustrating conclusion that the only websites and stores that sell anything Im looking for located in the US, and therefore require me to pay exorbitant amounts in shipping fees. Do you know of any stores or websites in Calgary or Canada where I can purchase cupcake wrappers or eco cupcake stands without paying a fortune. I found a place where I can rent a cupcake stand that may work, but I still have had no success on the cupcake wrapper front. I found a neat design called cosmic cupcake wrappers, with dark blue on one side, and turquoise on the other side, but I would also like plain ones too. Do you have any info that could help me. I listen to you on CBC all the time, and I love your recipe ideas. I was thinking with all your knowledge and experience in the cooking world, you might know of some retailers Im unaware of. Thanks!

    Dawn Robinson

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