Photo by Kristina
Eats N Drinks
Don't you feel a little bit sorry for the raisin? Some people just hate them--wouldn't think of eating anything that has a raisin in it. Some of those people can occasionally be tricked into eating, say, a cookie that has a few raisins in it, but even if they like them, they'll still claim to hate raisins. And even the people who don't hate them mostly just tolerate them. If you ask people what they'd choose for their last meal on earth, have you ever heard of anyone who includes raisins? And yet here we have a pastry that is proudly raisinated, and people who try these little tartlets seem to love them. I'm drinking a cup of coffee while I write, and if I weren't trying to lose weight, and if I had the choice right now of a Hungarian Raisin Walnut Tartlet and a piece of dark chocolate, I'd take the raisin tartlet. Weird. I don't especially like raisins.
Of course, now that I make that proclamation about people not loving raisins, I have to admit that Kristina wanted to make these tartlets because she thought they would be a lot like butter tarts, which are apparently a "Canadian thing," and they contain either raisins or pecans, but not both, which makes the pecan version sound a lot like pecan pie, That's not a bad thing, of course. And what's next on Kristina's baking agenda. "Raisin pie. A friend gave me her mother's old threadbare copy of "More Food That Really Schmecks" [not a typo]" and it says "Bill says really good" next to raisin pie. So maybe this Bill would choose raisin pie as dessert for his last meal on earth, and my hypothesis would be shot to hell.
Everyone loved Kim's tartlets, although that does nothing to my theory because she made them with dried cranberries rather than raisins. Mostly what Kim talked about was the sheer volume of pastry dough. "My patience was tested here with the volume of pastry, rolling, cutting and fitting it into each cup and measuring the two fillings. I was so frustrated by them once they were assembled." Still, "it's a crowd favourite. I know because I brought them to my monthly discussion group and all 17 of them disappeared. Some people went for two. Rick had four."
Like Kim, Jenn was surprised at how long it took to roll out all the pastry dough and cut out the circles and shape them into the muffin pans. Jenn used almond milk instead of regular cow's milk because her household doesn't drink milk any more. And she keeps frozen cubes of cream on hand, which is a very smart idea and one that I hope to use myself. I hate it when cream fails the sniff test and I have to throw it out! What I enjoyed most about Jenn's post: realizing that she's not perfect at rolling out dough. I know it's not kind to like reading about someone else's imperfections, but it's one of my own imperfections. She included a picture of the dough, which she says "looks like an island somewhere." Extra credit for anyone who can name the island.
Speaking of imperfections, Vicki says she had them by the score. She blames "Mars in retrograde." Now that I think of it, though, this must be one of those recipes that can take a lot of Mars-in-retrograde-induced mistakes, because everyone's tartlets, including Vicki's, looked gorgeous and professional. Vicki's main problem was tripling the filling but not the pastry, which meant--you guessed it--that she ran out of dough before coming close to using up the filling. But she simply used store-bought pie crust on some and made some with no pastry at all. "I am surprised how delicious these are," says Vicki. I agree.
Next week: more raisins (or not, depending on which version you make) in Rose's famous rugelach recipe. Personally, I would not recommend using the foil to line the cookie sheets, or, if you do, I hope you have better luck than I did. But these cookies are so good I hope you take a chance on them.