Archive for the 'dessert' Category

Maple Bacon Butter Tarts

bacon butter tarts 4 Maple Bacon Butter Tarts

It’s Canada Day Eve! Which means, traditionally, I’m baking butter tarts. This year I decided to make bacon butter tarts. Maple bacon butter tarts, even.

bacon butter tarts 2 585x387 Maple Bacon Butter Tarts

I know, it’s been said that bacon has jumped the shark. But this makes sense – salty bacon with sweet maple syrup and brown sugar – this is a perfect fit, and oh so Canadian. I’ll be bringing a large batch to our friend’s annual Canada Day party tomorrow. If the reaction at the CBC studio this morning was any indication, they’ll go fast.

bacon butter tarts 3 Maple Bacon Butter Tarts

A few ways to up the bacon ante: replace some of the fat in the pastry with chilled bacon drippings, or drizzle some into the filling in place of some of the melted butter. Although I usually default to my grandma’s butter tart recipe, I decided to use the one from the Five Roses Cookbook, which I recently learned was on the shelf in 650,000 Canadian households back in 1915.

bacon butter tarts 1 Maple Bacon Butter Tarts

Of course, this tart is as tasty (if not as bacon-y) made with the traditional currants or raisins, chopped pecans, or nothing at all. Happy Canada Day, eh?

Bacon Butter Tarts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (or half butter, half lard), chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold water

2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple or Roger’s Golden syrup
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice or cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup(ish) chopped cooked, crumbled bacon, currants, raisins or chopped pecans

To make the pastry, in a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers (or pulse in the food processor) until well blended, with some pieces of fat the size of a pea. Drizzle in enough water to make the dough hold together – you’ll likely need almost all of it. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/8-inch thin; cut into 3-inch rounds with a cutter or glass rim and fit into muffin cups. Reroll the scraps only once to get as many as possible. Preheat the oven to 375F.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, lemon juice and salt, stirring until smooth.

Sprinkle some chopped, cooked bacon, currants, raisins or pecans into the bottom of each pastry cup and fill with the filling mixture, filling almost full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the pan while the tarts are still warm.

Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen tarts.

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June 30 2014 | dessert | 11 Comments »

Raspberry Cheesecake

raspberry cheesecake 2 Raspberry Cheesecake

This would be pretty for Canada Day, don’t you think? (I knew better than to attempt to arrange a maple leaf out of raspberries.) It looks pretty enough that people asked me where I bought it, but in reality if you can stand a raspberry upright, you can cover a cheesecake with them. The truth is, here they’re covering a gaping chasm of a crack in the top – something so common in cheesecakes it’s traditional to cover the plain ones with a sour cream topping to conceal any flaws.

raspberry cheesecake 1 Raspberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake was my dessert of choice back in the 90s – it was Mike’s birthday cake of choice for decades – and yet I never think to make them these days. They’re pretty low-maintenance, as far as desserts go – once baked, it needs to sit in the fridge to firm up, so it may as well just hang out in there until you’re ready for it. A plain cheesecake like this – a classic recipe I started baking from the Canadian Living Cookbook around 1987 – can be dolled up with berries, fresh or sauced, or you can douse it in chocolate or caramel, spike it with citrus or leave it plain.

Raspberry Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs or chocolate wafer crumbs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar

3 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Grated zest of a lemon (optional)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs

1 pint fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crumbs, butter and sugar and press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set it aside. Turn the oven up to 425°F.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it’s smooth. Add the sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and beat it again, just until it’s smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour the batter over the crust.

Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 250°F and continue to bake the cheesecake for another 30-35 minutes. (If you have trouble with the top of your cheesecakes cracking, spray some water inside the oven with a spray bottle before you put your cheesecake in to keep the oven humid inside as the cake bakes.) You can tell when the cheesecake is done when it’s barely firm around the edges and the center is just slightly jiggly – it will firm up as it cools. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan, but allow it to cool completely and then refrigerate it for at least an hour before you remove the sides of the springform pan. Once chilled top with raspberries, sitting them upright and close together.

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake; serves 12.

pixel Raspberry Cheesecake
button print gry20 Raspberry Cheesecake

June 29 2014 | cake and dessert | 2 Comments »

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