Tag Archives: Butter Tarts

Meal Planning – Week 3

A weekly meal plan is always useful to have. It helps with shopping, meal preparation, healthy eating, meal variety, and can save on the grocery bill. Here is my suggested meal plan for the upcoming week. This is the menu for Week 3.  Click Week 1 and Week 2 to access menus for those weeks. The Week 1 posting also includes information on meal planning in general.

I’ve provided a list of the main ingredients that, for the most part, would probably involve a shopping trip to the supermarket for most. However, as always, read each recipe thoroughly and carefully to create your own list as I have not listed what I consider to be “staple” items like regular milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar, butter/shortening, oil, spices, etc.

Click on the green hotlinks to access the recipes.


Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread – This is a lovely treat to start off the week. Tuck it in to the lunch bags for a treat at break.

Shopping List: Lemon, pecans

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

Dinner:  Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup with Whole Wheat Biscuits

This soup is the full meal deal – very filling and flavorful.

Shopping List: For the Soup – Ground beef, onion, celery, carrots, rutabaga, parsnip, potatoes, zucchini, garlic, tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, ketchup, beef stock (click here for my recipe), red wine vinegar. For the Biscuits – All purpose and whole wheat flours, buttermilk

Goulash Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

There’s nothing like a wholesome homemade biscuit and these whole wheat biscuits go really well with the Goulash Soup.

Whole Wheat Biscuits
Whole Wheat Biscuits

Dessert: Apple Crisp

No matter the season, this old faithful dessert will always meet with satisfaction. Pure comfort food at its best!

Shopping List: Apples (e.g., any combo of Cortland, Honeycrisp, Humes, Gingergold), rolled oats, pecans, lemon juice

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream


Dinner:  Pork Loin Roast with Pomegranate, Red Wine, and Black Garlic; serve with Potato Patties and medley of roasted vegetables of choice

Black garlic is not all that common yet, here on PEI, the garlic grower at Eureka Garlic just outside Kensington produces black garlic. Click here to read the story I wrote on Eureka Garlic’s black garlic.  Not at all the taste you might think – in fact, no garlic flavor at all. Its transformation is more of a cross between a fig and a prune. Goes particularly well with pork.

Shopping List: For Pork Loin Roast – Pork rib roast, garlic, soya sauce, white wine vinegar, shallots, pomegranate molasses, chicken stock, black garlic, balsamic vinegar, red wine, orange juice. For Potato Patties – Potatoes, sour cream chicken bouillon, breadcrumbs.

Pork Loin
Pork Loin Roast with Pomegranate, Red Wine, and Black Garlic Sauce served with Potato Croquettes and Roasted Root Vegetables

These potato patties are such an incredibly tasty way to serve potatoes and they freeze well, too!

PEI Potato Patties
PEI Potato Patties

Dessert:  Date Squares

Date Squares, the perennial favorite with many! These are a yummy treat and they freeze well, too.

Shopping List: Dates, rolled oats, orange juice

Date Squares
Date Squares (aka Matrimonial Squares)


Dinner:  Savory Cottage Pie

Lovely winter time treat, these little pies are packed full of flavor!

Shopping List: Ground beef, onion, carrots, parsnip, celery, green pepper, garlic, mushrooms, tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, canned diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, beef broth, molasses, frozen peas and corn, potatoes, grated cheddar cheese

cottage pie
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Cottage Pie

Dessert: Butter Tarts

When it comes to food, it doesn’t get any more Canadian than these sweet butter tarts! A treat for sure, eh!

Butter Tarts
Butter Tarts

Shopping List: Pie Pastry, general baking supplies + maple syrup, milk/blend/cream 
Butter Tarts


DinnerMussel Chowder served with Pan Rolls

This chowder is incredibly flavorful. They’ll ask for seconds on this one!

Shopping list: For Chowder:  2 lbs PEI mussels, onion, garlic, white wine, celery, carrots, potatoes, chicken broth, whole milk (or evaporated milk); For Pan Rolls: Yeast + standard baking supplies

PEI Mussel Chowder Paired with Upstreet Brewing Company's Commons Czech Style Pilsner
PEI Mussel Chowder Paired with Upstreet Brewing Company’s Commons Czech Style Pilsner

Nothing better with chowder than fresh homemade rolls, still warm from the oven! Bring on the butter!

Pan Rolls
Pan Rolls

Dessert: Squash Pie

Pick up a butternut squash and make this delectable pie – it’s even better than pumpkin pie and has a deeper flavor. Don’t reserve this recipe just for the autumn – it’s good any time of the year!

Shopping List:  1½ – 1¾ lb butternut squash, pastry for 10” single crust pie, evaporated milk, whipping cream

Squash Pie
Squash Pies


 Dinner:  Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce; serve with favorite green salad

A real special Friday night dinner. These crepes are so tasty with their cheesy sauce!

Shopping List: For crepes – 2 cups cubed cooked chicken, chicken stock, cheese mix (e.g., mozzarella, provolone and parmesan), celery, mushrooms; For salad – lettuce and favorite salad fixings and dressing.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

Dessert: Leftover Squash Pie

Squash Pie
Squash Pie


Dinner: Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rice

Fresh asparagus works best in this chicken dish.  Super yummy and looks great when it is sliced with the rings of the asparagus being very showy!

Shopping List: Boneless skinless chicken breasts, Boursin cheese, fresh asparagus spears, prosciutto, parmesan cheese, rice.

Asparagus-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Dessert: Blueberry Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Sauce

Oh là-là, how many different ways can you say “yummy”? This moist and flavorful bread pudding will have them calling for seconds!

Shopping List:  For Pudding: 1 – 1lb loaf of soft French bread, whole milk, maple syrup, 2 cups high-bush blueberries (fresh or frozen). For Sauce: Grand Marnier, corn syrup

Blueberry Bread Pudding
Blueberry Bread Pudding


 Sunday Breakfast: Special Treat – Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Buns

DinnerCranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops; serve with baked potato and medley of favorite steamed vegetables

Jazz up pork chops with a tasty and colorful cranberry and ginger sauce.

Shopping List: Pork Chops, chicken broth, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, cranberry preserve/jam, mustard, onion

Pork Chops
Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Dessert: Leftover Blueberry Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Blueberry Bread Pudding

I hope you have found some interesting recipes from my food blog to try this week!

For other weekly meal plans from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Week 1 Meal Plan

Week 2 Meal Plan


Butter Tarts – A Quintessential Canadian Dessert

Butter tarts that melt in your mouth, is there anything better?  There are as many recipes for butter tarts as there are bakers and pastry chefs making them.  Essentially, these are the basic, core ingredients that will normally be common to all butter tart recipes:  brown sugar, eggs, butter (absolutely no substitutes), and usually some kind of syrup (e.g., maple, corn, or both).  The ingredients may vary in different amounts from recipe to recipe and this will impact the flavor and texture of the filling.

What will often define a good butter tart is the pastry.  No matter how tasty the filling is, if the pastry is tough or hard, a good butter tart is ruined.  Just as in a pie, tart pastry shells should be light and flaky. When you bite into the tart, the pastry should be very tender and just literally flake apart and you should be able to see its different layers.

Some use very thick pastry for their tarts and they fold and pleat in quite a chunk of pastry to each muffin cup; however, I don’t care for a lot of pastry as I find it detracts from the filling.  I guess you could say that I don’t like a dessert that is more about the pastry and less about the filling (the yummy part!). I make my own pastry and roll it quite thin, just leaving it thick enough to hold the filling and just large enough that it only lines the muffin tins – no extra tucks or folds of pastry for me.  I think it also makes a more refined, neater, and pleasing tart presentation when the shell perfectly and smoothly fits the muffin tin.  I use a 3 7/8″ ruffled edge cookie cutter to cut out the pastry shells but it depends, of course, on the size of muffin tins you are using.  You may need to experiment to find just the right size of pastry circle to fit the tins you are using.     Because pastry will shrink when baking, I fit the pastry shells into the muffin tins and put them in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to chill.  This helps to reduce the shrinkage during the baking process and keeps the original size and shape of the pastry shells, or at least close to it.  Then, I immediately fill the shells and pop them right into the pre-heated oven.

The consistency of the filling varies from recipe to recipe.  Some fillings are very runny, so much so that the tarts have to be eaten on a plate and with a fork.  I prefer tart fillings that are not runny but yet have soft texture and are sufficiently thickened that the tarts can be picked up in the hand and eaten without the filling dripping down the chin.

Then there is always the perennial question about whether the tarts are better with, or without, raisins and/or nuts.  I don’t necessarily mind those additions but my preference is to leave them out in favour of a nice smooth, uninterrupted filling.  Some bakers have started being creative with butter tarts by adding ingredients such as chocolate chips, coconut, or dates, for example, to their tarts.  These, however, are not traditional additions to butter tarts on PEI.

One of the tricks I have learned when making tarts is not to beat too much air into the eggs as this causes the filling to rise while baking and, consequently, spill over the top of the pastry shell and stick to the muffin tins in which they are baked.  It then becomes difficult to remove the tarts from the pans without wrecking them.  For this reason, I don’t use my Kitchen Aid or hand mixer to mix the filling.  I beat the eggs very, very little and only with a whisk.

Some desserts are trendy for awhile and will come and go with time.  Not so with butter tarts.  They are a true Canadian classic that are always en vogue.  I grew up with butter tarts regularly being made by both my mother and grandmother.  My mother would often whip up a batch of butter tarts on a Saturday morning and think nothing of it.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say tarts were almost a staple in the household and we always kind of looked upon them as rather commonplace as opposed to a delicacy.   Put a tray of butter tarts on any dessert table and watch them disappear quickly!

The recipe that follows is my own, adapted from the one my mother used.  My mother, for example, never added maple syrup to tarts but I think it enhances the sweet taste of the tarts so I have incorporated it into my version.

Barbara’s Butter Tarts


3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs, lightly beaten (with whisk)

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup melted butter (no substitutions)

2 tbsp cream, blend, or whole milk

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp vinegar

dash salt


Prepare your favorite pastry recipe and cut out round shapes of sufficient size to fit into muffin tins.

Place shells in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 350C.

Assemble ingredients.

Add all ingredients to large mixing cup or bowl.  Whisk, or stir, just until ingredients are combined.

Pour or spoon filling into prepared shells, filling each about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 25 minutes or just until filling has set.  Let cool 20-25 minutes in muffin tins on rack then remove from pans to rack to finish cooling.

Yield:  Apx. 12-14 tarts

This blog entry is part of the Canadian Food Experience project which began on June 7, 2013.  The September theme is “My Cherished Canadian Recipe”.  Butter tarts are one of the most common desserts often associated with Canada, particularly when the tarts have maple syrup in them, so I have chosen to share my recipe.

As we (project participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice.  Please join us.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

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