My Mom’s Butter Tarts and Pastry

My mom is from Canada, and a popular dessert in Canada is Butter Tarts. They are so delicious and you cannot find them in the USA. One of the key ingredients is starting out with my moms pastry, passed down through the generations; it calls for lard. If you don’t want to use lard, that is fine, but it will change the taste. I have tried many butter tarts while visiting Canada and I have never found one comparable in taste to my mom’s.

Ingredients:

  • Mom’s pastry (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup syrup (Use golden syrup, Cost-Plus has great stuff imported from England or Scotland).
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg beaten well
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ tsp white vinegar
  • 1/3 or ½ cup raisins

Directions:

Roll out pastry and cut pastry to fit muffin pan. Paper baking cups will help avoid sticking but if not using spray pan with non-stick spray. Cream first 3 ingredients together. Add a little of the beaten egg at a time to creamed mixture while beating then add vanilla, salt and vinegar. Add raisins then spoon mixture into pastry cups.

Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, lower temp to 350 degrees and bake 12 minutes more.

Yields 15-18 tarts

Mom’s Pastry:

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 pound lard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • water

Directions:

Mix the above 4 ingredients together in a large bowl, use fork to start then by hand (I use my Cuisinart mixer for the entire recipe and it does a fabulous job).

Beat  egg in a measuring cup, add white vinegar, then add water to make ¾ cup.

Add to flour mixture and mix. Mix until lard is almost absorbed. Mixture will be very sticky. Roll into log and cut into 6 even pieces. Wrap in tin foil and freeze for at least 1 day.

Thaw and roll out with lots of flour.

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatball recipe. I have ruined other meatballs for my children and myself with this meatball recipe. The recipe is originally from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen cookbook but I have changed it and made it my own to make it simpler. It is the best meatball recipe I have found and I have become an expert at making them. It really isn’t as difficult as it looks, give it a try.

Picture above from our trip to Venice, Italy in 2018 and my daughter enjoying her spaghetti when she was 5 years old (2008)….both great memories.

Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 35-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp crushed hot red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese + 2/3 cups for cooked pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Directions:

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium high heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, crushed red pepper and bay leaves, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the pork and beef into a mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated cheese, the parsley, and garlic over the meat. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the meat mixture. Mix the ingredients with clean hands just until evenly blended. Don’t over mix. Shape the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.

Dredge the meatballs in the flour until lightly but evenly coated. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Slip as many meatballs into the skillet as will fit without crowding. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as the meatballs cook to prevent them from over browning. Remove the meatballs, and repeat if necessary with the remaining meatballs.

Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pink remains at the center of the meatballs, about 30 minutes.

Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, about 8 minutes.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Spoon in about 2 cups of the tomato sauce, tossing well until the pasta is coated with sauce. Remove from the heat and toss in 2/3 cup grated cheese. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the pasta in warm bowls or piled high on a large warm platter. Spoon a little more of the sauce over the pasta, and pass the remaining sauce separately. Pass the meatballs family-style in a bowl, or top the bowls or platter of spaghetti with them.

Enjoy! I know you will love it.