As much as I love Christmas, Thanksgiving is the holiday I look forward to most.

For me, Thanksgiving Day is like a perfect photograph … crisp colours, happy faces and clarity.

I love that the sun always shines and that the air is cool on Thanksgiving Day. I love the colours of the leaves and the harvest. I love the smell of the turkey and my mother’s chestnut stuffing. I love the feeling of sitting at the table, with my family, completely stress-free. No worries about presents, greeting cards, what to wear, eating too many cookies, packed shopping malls, traffic … no worries at all.

Pic_1_010_5And I am so thankful. I am thankful for my family because they are beautiful and make me laugh.

I am thankful for my friends who are always there for me, no matter what.

I am thankful for the food on my table.

I am thankful for the place that I live in and the memories that it holds.

I am thankful for this blog, and for you, and for the difference it has all made.

I am thankful for this life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Butter Tarts

This is perhaps the quintessential "Canadian" sweet. My version is based on recipes that I’ve gotten from friends and acquaintances and also a cookbook by Wanda Beaver called Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.

For the pastry:

Use your favourite recipe for butter crust. I always use the recipe from The Joy of Cooking which never fails. If you don’t have a favourite butter crust recipe, try this one from www.epicurious.com.

Once you prepare your pastry, roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick and then cut it into 4-inch circles to fit a standard-sized muffin pan. The dough may bunch up a bit as you fit into the muffin pan but this is part of the charm of the butter tarts.

Refrigerate the dough while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • walnut halves (24 to 36)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place a walnut half in each prepared pastry-lined muffin cup.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together all the other ingredients.
  4. Carefully pour the mixture into each muffin cup, being careful not to fill them more than three-quarters of the way to the top (if you fill them more than that they may overflow).
  5. Put the muffin tin on a baking tray just in case there are spills.
  6. Bake the tarts in the centre of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them to ensure that the crusts don’t burn. The crusts should be golden and the filling should be just set.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. Enjoy!

Note:  This recipe will  yield enough filling for 24 butter tarts. If you make a butter crust recipe that yields two 9-inch pie shells, then you should have enough dough to fill the 24 muffin tins. If not, make two batches of the butter crust.

I sometimes add raisins to my butter tarts. If you want to add raisins, soak about a 1/4 cup of raisins hot water and then divide among the muffin cups before you add the filling. You can also use cranberries or dried cherries for a special twist.

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