Butter tarts make me angry

By Jackie Davis »Jackie Davis

July 6th, 2011



Why can’t I bake good butter tarts? Guest post by Jackie Davis, assistant editor.

I spent Canada Day making butter tarts. This was partially because I was missing the cottage—normally we go up for the long weekend, but not this year—and butter tarts are very cottagey. Also, the office was closed, so I didn’t have that much to do. I used the recipe from Cottage Cook Jane Rodmell’s book All The Best Recipes.

People here seem to think I’m a pretty good baker, and I’ve made butter tarts many times. Unfortunately, no matter what recipe I use, the tarts overflow during baking, and many are ruined. I end up with only a few decent butter tarts and a lot of butter-tart directed rage. I don’t know what goes wrong. I tried Googling “Why do I ruin my butter tarts?” but found no results. (Google suggested I search “Why do I ruin my relationships?” Shut up, Google.)

Pre-baking, I was very careful: I bought a proper 4-inch circular cookie cutter to cut out the tart shells (usually, I just use whatever round implement I think might work—once, an empty can of stewed tomatoes). I used an actual rolling pin to roll the pastry, not a thermos from Starbucks, not an old aluminum water bottle I found in the cupboard. I chilled the dough as directed. I didn’t use any ingredient substitutions. I didn’t over-mix the filling or over-fill the shells. I did everything right. But still, most of the tarts overflowed during baking. I scrapped one third of them because I couldn’t get them out of the muffin tray intact. One. Third.

So, as usual, the butter tarts made me angry. Never again, butter tarts. Okay, that’s a lie. I know I’ll make them again. I can’t let them win. So I need to figure out why I fail. Any ideas? What am I doing wrong? How should I fix this? Why do the butter tarts hate me?


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Jul. 11, 2011

4:05 pm

Now, what I don't understand is... what makes butter tarts so cottagey?


Jul. 6, 2011

3:44 pm

6onsix is right it is the vinegar, Cottage Life Show we watched Anna Olson do her tarts from the Sugar cookbook and whenever I make those they turn out perfectly!


Jul. 6, 2011

3:08 pm

In my mom's collection of recipe snips is a tiny article suggesting if you add 1TBSP of vinegar to the recipe it prevents boil overs. Don't know if it will work, but you could give it a try. Hadn't thought about it, but now I'm going to make some this weekend. Thanks for the suggestion!


Jul. 6, 2011

1:50 pm

I must bake some now to go north this weekend. Thanks for the suggestion. BTW mine rarely come out presentable, but they all seem to get eaten anyway. I think this happens to everyone. When someone brings the tarts for desserts, I think they only bring the perfect ones and their failures were left at home for the family!!


Jul. 6, 2011

10:33 am

Wish I could help... but I can't bake. I am now craving butter tarts though... yum!

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