Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I hate small food.

Kitkat’s culinary skills have always left me in awe. Tasty treats inside sugar bubbles not only make my teeth scream for more, but leave me as wide-eyed as a child when they get their first bottle of gin for Christmas. Kids do get excited about that don’t they?

From a pair of Fluevogs on a cake pillow to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre reproduced in sponge layers and ganache there is nothing the man can’t do while making it look easy. Martha Stewart is similarly inspiring with her “good things” that she seems to make with next to no effort.

For the most part though, I like Julia Child and her “forget about making it look like it belongs in a magazine” approach when it comes to cooking. My pies might bubble over the odd time but that just means I filled them up real good.

Occasionally however, I will forget the last time I tried my hand at something fussy like using a needle to poke all the bubbles out of an aspic before it sets or making chocolate leaves, and think, ‘sure, I can do that’. Foolishly adding as an afterthought, ‘this won’t take long’ and/or ‘it will be fun’.

Enter the world of small food, specifically, mini butter tarts. Why would I buy the ‘two bite size’ variety when I can make pastry and melt butter and sugar all on my own? Christmas carols on the iPod and rolling pin in hand I set to work. Dough and filling preparation were easy as pie. Pardon the pun. Even cutting the rounds and putting them in the mini muffin pan was doable, if a little taxing on the first few test runs.

Using the tines of a fork to make a little pattern around the top was a bit finicky, but with flour to keep it sticky free, off I went. All the recipes I read said not to fill more than a third of the tart lest it overflow during baking. In those tiny cups though, that looks downright stingy so I went to the halfway mark.

Sure enough, the cup runneth over, as it were, and out of the oven came butter tarts securely cemented into their cups. I let them cool for about an hour and ruined two trying to pry them from the sugars grasp. It was not to be and while they tasted fine, I couldn’t very well ask everyone to gather round the tray with a spoon and say “have at ‘er”.

I was thankful for the frigid weather we are having however, when out of desperation, I set them outside for a quick freeze. Once solid, I gave the pan a solid smack on my butcher block and then took a knife to flake the caramel off the pan and voila! I had freed my treats.

The crunchy bits were placed in the tarts for a little extra something and they turned out to be rather yummy. My ensuing batch of shortbread though was of the scotch variety and the gingerbread men remained royal icing free. One high maintenance endeavour as year is enough for me.


Blogger Blair said...

Oh but they were yummy though, and so cute!

8:28 PM  

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