Crimes against my butter tart

I had a lovely lunch at a great place near my house.

After lunch, I had planned to sip my (bottomless) coffee and nibble a butter tart. As far as I’m concerned, butter tarts require coffee, and coffee is highly improved by butter tarts. A symbyotic relationship, if you will.

The place was pretty busy, but I managed to order my refill and tart. The anticipation of the sweet, sweet dessert distracted me from my reading, but I was strong.

The coffee came soon thereafter. Now, I like my coffee quite hot (I usually drink it all within ten minutes of when it’s poured; after that, it’s too cold). No sign of the butter tart, though, which was a key component of my dessert plan. The staff was running around, but I thought ‘how difficult is it to toss a tart on a plate and bring it over?’

So I asked again for my butter tart. She apologized for the delay and said there was a backlog of dessert orders. Again (and at this point I began to get a bit suspicious) I wondered how long the preparation of a butter tart could take. At most, I thought, they might have to unwrap it if it’s been in the fridge, or something.

My coffee growing ever colder, I kept a close eye on the waitstaff. A sinking feeling grew in my belly as I saw one of them bring what looked like a butter tart on a plate, past me and into the kitchen. ‘What now,’ thought I. ‘Perhaps there is something wrong with it and they need to get a new one.’

Soon she emerged from the kitchen again, butter tart on plate. She went to the counter and pulled out - gasp! no, it couldn’t be … no, it is … a whipped cream container.

Here I will confess to a personal revulsion for the stuff. No cream - whipped, iced, mixed with coffee - has crossed my lips in years. This is why I order desserts like butter tarts, which don’t have any cream involved.

[And yes, there is an enormous difference between cream and butter. For one thing, butter tarts are about butter. If og had intended for them to be served with cream, I expect s/he would have called them something different.]

[And besides, what on earth does a butter tart need whipped cream for? Even if I loved the stuff, I might still think it was overkill.]

When I saw that silver tankard of foulness directed at my dessert, I almost leapt from my seat to knock it out of her hands before it could touch my precious. My calmer head prevalied as I convinced myself it was probably nothing I couldn’t scrape off and leave on the plate. Little did I know, however, the damage had already been done.

When the confection was finally brought to my table - coffee half-finished, cold, nasty - I saw that the situation was much worse than I had imagined.

Maybe the thing had been fresh and delicious before it had been put in the microwave. And even if it hadn’t been, I’ve eaten plenty of butter tarts of a wide variety of freshnesses, they really last quite a long time in the fridge.

But it certainly didn’t survive getting zapped. The crust was chewy, for one thing, which is not exactly how I like my pastries. (I failed at picking it apart with my fingers (which is the usual way I eat butter tarts with my coffee, because they’re usually served cold, and without adornments like whipped cream) and also at eating it with the spoon they had provided. A more serious instrument - one with serrations, most likely - would have been necessary to break the crust.) And the filling was gooey with the heat, which caused the butter to separate from the sugar.

I thought it may be less awful once it had cooled a bit. (As it turned out this was also folly.) So there I sat with cold coffee and a hot butter tart that I had to allow to cool. Oh, the irony, the painful irony!

I had always figured that something that amounts to butter and sugar, mixed together, would be pretty difficult to mess up. I was tragically wrong.

The whipped cream, as it turned out, was completely irrelevant. I - me, who has never left a dessert unfinished - could stomach no more than two bites of it, even the parts that remained untainted by the uninvited dairy intruder.

Now I ask you. Have you ever heard of such an indignity befalling a humble butter tart? Do people actually find the experience improved by whipped cream and microwaving? Really? If so, I weep for the state of humanity.

Not to worry, it’s okay, it all worked out. It was touch-and-go for a minute there but I managed to get a peanut butter-chocolate square at the place down the street, and that filled the sweet-dessert-shaped hole in my soul.

But I think I’m off butter tarts for a while.

Butter tarts are holy. They should only be warm if recently removed from the oven. Microwaving them deserves death.

Why the hell would anyone put whipped cream on one?

A proper butter tart is incredibly rich and sweet as is, and requires no whipped cream. I’m with you on that one.

Although I like mine with tea; hot, strong tea with milk, no sugar. That balances out the sweet and cool of the rich butter tart.

That was just… horrible. Microwave a buttertart? Whipped cream?? I shuddered at your description, and am shuddering still.

What’s a butter tart?

Yup, that’s a pretty good demonstration. :slight_smile:

A butter tart is a lovely, classically Canadian dessert, a small tart with a rich sugar-cream filling in the middle. I believe it’s a little bit like pecan pie (sometimes it has pecans in it, but this is non-canonical).

GingerOfTheNorth gave a recipe for butter tarts in this thread. I printed it out at the time and have been meaning to make some ever since, but I just haven’t managed to get around to doing so as yet. I’m intrigued by a dessert that can conjure up such depths of emotion from so many Canadians.

In my windows taskbar, when I bring up the list of open IE windows, this one says “Straight Dope Message Board - Crimes Against my Butt…”

at first glance, i didnt think it said tart…

The missus made a fresh batch of mini butter tarts and minced meat tarts yesterday. We brought some over to a neighbour’s for dinner, and they enjoyed 'em, despite never having heard of them before.

Face it, Americans don’t know anything about the rest of the world, because they’d shoot themselves if they knew what they were missing :wink:

(I’m going to eat one now.)

I like my butter tarts with raisins in them. Mmmmm. And mince tarts. Mmmmmm. So much better than mince pies - the crust-to-mince ratio is just right in the tarts. Oh yeah - heating them, creaming them - completely unnecessary and a little weird.

I’m tellin’ ya, you have to make them. They’re the best thing you could ever put in your mouth ever ever ever.

Mom and Dad are going to be here on Wednesday, at which time Mom will be baking. I’ve been busy with the little one, so I’ve only made a couple of batches of cookies - but there will be butter tarts. Oh yes. There will be butter tarts.

(Some without walnuts, for my huband is a nut-hating bastard American).

Next week: Nanaimo bars.

Actually, this week. I’ll probably make some for Oxymoron (he’ll be here on the weekend and loves them.)

My grandmother used to buy buttertarts by the gross (despite the fact that she was married to a man who had been a professional baker for many, many years). I so loved those gooey, messy, most wonderful of confections. In deference to trying to restrain my waistline, I do not partake anymore, but I do gaze at them wistfully through pastry shop windows.


I’ll take “Obscure Porn Titles” for eight hundred, Alex.

I will, I will. I’ll try out your recipe when things quieten down a bit after Christmas. :slight_smile:

I had considered whipping up a batch for Christmas. But it’s been stinking hot here the past few days and I simply haven’t countenanced the idea of doing any food preparation that requires additional heat.

I think if there’s anything that would be even more effectively ruined by a microwave and whipped cream than a butter tart, it would have to be a Nanaimo bar.

mental note … do not order Nanaimo bars at the lovely lunch place

I’ve always been part butter tart purist (no raisins or nuts for me! No way!) and part blasphemist (I had one with chocolate chips once, and I constantly wonder why they aren’t all made like that!).

I confess that until this thread I had not thought of the patriotic angle of desserts. Canada’s pretty great, eh? I mean, our delicious desserts are just the (heh) icing on the same-sex-marriage-legalizing, non-Iraq-war-joining cake, huh!

:: runs off to buy a Coffee Crisp bar and a Tim Horton’s cheese and cherry danish ::

Actually, butter tarts sound like essentially the same confection referred to in these parts as “gooey butter cake,” except that cakes, obviously, are larger than tarts. (They usually, but not always, have pecans in them…)

Now y’ask me, that is a crime against butter tarts. Raisins are just…ick.

Walnuts and nothin’ but, thankyewverymuch!

Mind, microwaving and whipped cream are higher on the list than raisins. Raisins, I can dismiss as an eccentricity. The other two are just…wrong.