Butter Is Better

As a red-blooded Canuckistanian gal, I get the occasional craving for that wholly Canadian of treats, the butter tart. I used to make butter tarts fairly often as a kid because they were my Dad’s favourite treat, but I can’t actually recall making a batch since I moved out of my parents’ house in 1987. It’s not that they’re necessarily difficult to make, it’s just that, like most pastry items, I never really want a full batch. Generally I want one butter tart, maybe two, not twelve. So I tend to buy the things, preferably at bakeries where I can get a limited number and where they’re decently tasty.

My recent craving happened when I was nowhere near a decent bakery and a stroll through the bakery department of my admittedly low-end supermarket offered the option of a half-dozen of some pretty sad looking tarts, with an ingredient list that scared the beejeezus out of me.

At home, I realized that I don’t actually have a butter tart recipe. Not a one. I’ve got plenty of recipes for maple syrup pie/tarts, and I can drag out a number of books with southern-style pecan pie recipes, but none of those are butter tarts. So I turned to the intarwebs, but it got even more confusing.

Continue reading “Butter Is Better”

Let There Be Pie

About a year ago, I wrote a post bemoaning the transfats in shortening and a bunch of people suggested that I try a butter crust for making pies. I was generally pleased with a butter crust – it handles great and tastes delicious, but I was never totally happy with the fact that it seemed to get soggy. There’s just two people in our household and lest we make pigs of ourselves, we’re not really able to eat a whole pie between us (nor should we ever aspire to) before the crust got downright nasty.

Wednesday, Crisco announced that they have removed the transfats from ALL of their products. Not just that one, hard-to-find, green can of non-hydrogenated shortening, but the whole shebang.

Now that still doesn’t make Crisco a perfect product – as I’ve pointed out before, it’s made of t-shirts doused in pesticides. But butter has its failings as well, and while I’m not adverse to butter for specific, small-scale uses, I don’t always want the scary pile of cholesterol that a slice of butter-crust pie carries with it. (And yes, I’m a vegetarian, and yes, despite the fact that I’m a big gal, you’d kill your mother to have my cholesterol levels, but still – it all helps.)

So I think I might just have to switch back to shortening for my pie-making needs. With the health concerns pretty much evenly balanced now, it really does come down to taste and texture.