Certain sweets are irresistible to me. White cupcakes with white frosting. Homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. Wine gums. Dark chocolate covered jujubes. Coffee Crisp chocolate bars. Old fashioned donuts. Dark chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs. Yum! My mouth is watering.
But the one treat that I love above all others is the butter tart. Basically they are tart crusts filled with a mixture of lots of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and sometimes raisins or chopped nuts. Sounds healthy, right? (here’s a recipe from Canadian Living magazine if you want to see the basic ingredients)
When our Toronto-based friend Liz was visiting Dallas, she imported a package as a gift for us. So I did what I had to do: I froze them. I did it because I knew that they would be hard as rocks and would need serious thawing time to become deliciously gooey again. It was the only way I knew to save me from myself and still have butter tarts in the house. They freeze very well. They also thaw well, but you must practice your patience as you wait for them to thaw.
It was only fitting that on my birthday this year, instead of birthday cake or a cupcake, I had the last remaining butter tart to celebrate. It was delicious. It was also good that it was the last one left in the freezer.
I never had a butter tart until I was 25 when my then-boyfriend Bruce introduced me to them. Oh man. I was hooked. I’ve never seen them outside of Canada unless I’ve made them myself (which I have and they are amazingly delicious). They are a bit of work, but totally worth it. To save time, I’ve also made them in a bar version which is just as good but doesn’t have as much crust.
My father-in-law Ed also loved them. And because I loved them too and he knew I wouldn’t buy them for myself (because I’d eat the whole package), he would often pick some up when he knew Bruce and I were visiting. He did the same thing with donuts, by the way.
When we lived in Canada, I also used the excuse of visitors, especially American visitors to ensure butter tarts were in the house when company visited. After all, they hadn’t had them before and who was I to deny them a delicious, though extremely sweet, taste of Canada.
Now, when I go to Canada, I use the excuse of not being able to have them very often to treat myself. I’ve sampled the grocery store versions, upscale bakery versions, small town bakery versions, farmers market versions. I’ve had ones made with chocolate, dried cranberries, and other exotic flavors. They’re ok, but the kind that I crave the most are the ones made in someone’s kitchen because they’re baked with a secret ingredient: love.
They may not be not good for me in terms of nutrition or calories, but they’re sure good for the soul.