Anais Quinn stood out in Ottawa.
She never really felt comfortable there, and she had a good reason. She’s from Sitka Cove, you see. Where is Sitka Cove, you ask? It’s in Northern Ontario, population 41,000, on the shore of Lake Sitka. The community was formed as a fishing village back in the late 1800s, incorporated as a town in 1960. The economy is mainly fishing, but there’s growth in logging and a nickel mine half an hour away. It’s a place full of promise and history. A place where nearly everyone does something out in the ‘bush’ (what others call ‘the forest’). But more on Sitka Cove later, you’re here to find out about Anais.
She has dark brown hair, so dark that it sometimes looks black, with natural red highlights, just a bit longer than shoulder length, frequently worn in a pony-tail to keep it out of the way. She always seems to be battling it and talks about cutting it, but never does. Her aunt Anne, whom you’ll meet later, gets up early almost every morning to make sure Anais eats something, offers to braid her hair for her, to keep it out of the way. Anais is 5’ 6” tall, no shortie there.
She drives a 2019 Jeep Renegade, that her Police partner lusts after. You’ll meet Lorne in a few days. You can see why Lorne likes the Jeep so much…
Anais is an Aries, born March 25th, and allergic to shellfish. She prefers jeans, button-down shirts and her leather jacket over anything else. She’s not really into jewelry, even though her ears are pierced. She wears a gold box-link chain her Aunt gave her for Christmas one year. She dabbled in photography in Ottawa, but now that she’s back home, she is taking pictures of the bush and animals when she’s not wearing her shield. It’s a trope that all cops love doughnuts. Anais’ favourite sweet treat is butter tarts. If you’ve read yesterday’s post, or you’re Canadian, you’ll already be familiar with this pastry. It’s a Canadian invention comprised of a pastry shell filled with a sweet concoction of sugar, butter and egg. You may find this treat elsewhere in the world, but we invented it, and we’re darn proud of it!
Since Anais and I think more people ought to know how to make these gooey, yummy snacks, here’s how you do it!
FOR THE PASTRY
- 2 ¼ cups flour, pastry flour is best to use but all-purpose will do
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 cup shortening, Very cold and cut in cubes
- 1/2 cup butter, Very cold and cut in cubes
- 6 tbsp ice water, approximately, enough to bring the dough together
FOR THE FILLING
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ½ cup raisins, substituting, pecans, walnuts or chocolate chips also make good variations
TO PREPARE THE PASTRY
- Pulse the cold butter and shortening into the flour sugar and salt using a food processor until the shortening or butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces.
- Sprinkle the water over the surface and toss with a fork until the water is just incorporated into the dough. Do not overwork the dough; handle it only enough so that the dough stays together.
- Form the dough into two rounds about an inch thick.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about a half-hour.
- Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds with 4 inch cutter. Fit into muffin cups. Chill in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling. Cold pastry heading into a hot oven will always be flakier.
TO MAKE THE FILLING
- Combine all filling ingredients except raisins.
- Mix well.
- Sprinkle raisins in a single layer in the bottom of the pastry-lined muffin cups.
- Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
- Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from pans.
There is considerable debate about whether the filling in a butter tart should be runny or firm. Preferences vary, especially geographically but if you want a firmer, less runny filling simply add an additional egg, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decrease the corn syrup to 1/4 cup.
(Anais is of the ‘firm’ camp, and no raisins, please!)