Crew Mess: by Capt. John Wampler
When was the last time you went out with friends to dine on fine Canadian cuisine? OK, I know Canadian bacon doesn’t actually come from Canada. But other than poutine (French fries with cheese curds and lamb gravy), what is Canada known for food-wise?
“Peter” is a Canadian who owns a 90-foot yacht that I captain on call. Yesterday he sent me a couple of links about a summertime treat that folks in Ontario go bonkers over – butter tarts! Sensing a hint, I delved into the story.
”Butter Tart Trail” is a 30-kilometer stretch of rural Highway 6 with 18 bakeries, markets and stores. Kenilworth, a town of 11,500 people in the middle of “the trail,” sells thousands of tarts a week. Business is so good that there is a rural battle going on over butter tarts. When the town of Wellington North heard that Kawartha Lakes, a 3-hour drive to the east, had begun their own butter tart tour, cease-and-desist letters were sent and lawsuits contemplated. One can imagine The Great Canadian Butter Tart Wars coming to blows over this delicious confection.
Peter requested no nuts or raisins. He didn’t say anything about the rum and bacon, but then I didn’t tell him. Peter’s review: “They were perfect!”
1 box ready-made pie pastry (2 crusts)
5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
Preheat oven to 375 F. Cover a cutting board with parchment or wax paper. Roll out the pie dough and cut with a 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to make the pastry shells. Save the leftover dough for repairs or roll it out again to make more shells. Coat your 9-count 3-inch mini-muffin pans (x 4 for this recipe) with nonstick spray. Carefully line muffin tins with the pastry. Place pans on middle rack of oven and bake until the shells start to brown and remove from oven.
In bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Stir in corn syrup, rum, salt and vanilla. Combine until it is just blended.
Arrange cooked bacon in bottom of the shells. Add mixture into tart shells, filling each to about 2/3 full (kitchen hack – use an empty plastic ketchup bottle for filling shells).
Bake for about 10 minutes. Do not allow filling to bubble over. Let cool before removing tarts.
Yield: 36 tarts. Enjoy.
Capt. John Wampler (yachtaide.com) has worked on yachts for more than 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comments are welcome below.