It’s that time of the year (3-14) where we get to celebrate all things irrational, and so as we’ve done for several years now we thought we’d add a recipe or two. Mike’s Auntie Dona – at various stages in her life – ran a bakery, a restaurant, a catering service for several small airlines, and a cooking school. She was also quite a character. Wherever she is now, she likely has flour in her hair. These recipes are hers.
In case pastry has become your bête noire, here’s the one I used in the bakery and still do.
5 cups flour, 1 lb. lard, 1 tsp. salt… blend with pastry blender. Break 1 egg into a cup, beat and fill with water. Add to flour and stir and knead until it’s ready to handle. Seeing as how you’ve got that great lump of pastry there, make a pie or two, some butter tarts, turnovers (apple pie filling, zipped up with cinnamon and a few raisins) or raisin squares or just bake the shells and store them on a shelf. They’ll stay good for ages.
Now about those butter tarts. This recipe I gleaned from an old Mennonite cookbook and have used constantly over the years. Surprise, no butter in butter tarts.
Dona’s stolen recipe for butter tart filling
2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup brown sugar, handful of raisins. Beat the hell out of the eggs with your balloon whisk. If you don’t have one, stop right now and go and get one. I mean, really. Then put in the sugar and beat until you have big glutinous bubbles on top. Add your vanilla and raisins, put in tart shells and bake. Do use a 2-lb jam can to cut out your tart shells, 4-lb size for turnovers. Don’t bake butter tarts or anything with an egg base in a high oven. 325° at the most. I find 325 is best for these as a nice crust will form and they look beauteous. Gravy ladle fills the easiest. The amount makes 1 dozen.
So there you go. Have some fun with it! And since you have pastry dough left over, maybe put together a pumpkin or lemon pie or something. Check our Food section for more recipes.