Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year Menu & Specials

Dear foodie friends,

We will be offering a selection of gourmet comfort foods for New Years Eve. These items will be available in our fresh fridge on Friday, Dec 30th (we're open from 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.) and Saturday, Dec 31st (we're open from 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) We will be closed on Sunday, January 1st and Monday, January 2nd.

$9.98/L - winter squash soup with fresh sage
$11.98/L -
potato, asiago and white truffle soup
$22.98/dz -
coconut shrimp with thai dipping sauce
$9.98 sm; $24.98 lrg - "hogtails"
beef brisket shepherd's pie
$29.98 lrg -
seafood pot pie with lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon & halibut in a white-wine cream sauce with yukon gold-celeraic topping

We also have a ton of ready-to-bake appetizers (which we will be sampling this week), cheese tortes and quesadilla's for New Years Eve. Or pick up some of our ready-to-bake scones, best-ever granola and/or quiche for New Years Day brunch.
Lastly, our January special (all month long) is any 3 L of our soup for $25 including tax!

Have a happy and healthy new year,
Dana and the dsg gang

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

recipe: turkey quesadilla

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner!  This is my favourite time of the year, filled with family, wonderful traditions and of course, delicious food.  In our family, Christmas Eve is usually a stand-up style dinner – easy-to-eat hors d’oeuvres that we enjoy over several hours.  Breakfast on the 25th always includes good coffee, juice, a special fruit salad and scones.  And we’re all about tradition for dinner – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rutabaga, squash, broccoli… and lots of it, because we love leftovers around here!

If you’re getting bored of the standard hot-turkey sandwiches, here are FOUR delicious ways to use up your leftovers:

·        Turkey, cranberry and asiago quesadilla’s (spread cranberry sauce onto one flour tortilla, top with sliced turkey, asiago cheese and chopped, leftover vegetables.  Top with second tortilla.  Grill in lightly oiled pan set over medium heat, turning once, until brown on both sides)

·        Turkey dinner casserole – make a simple b├ęchamel (white sauce) and thin it out with a bit of chicken stock or white wine.  Add leftover chopped turkey and vegetables, stir to combine.  Spread leftover mashed potatoes or squash onto the bottom of a casserole pan, top with turkey mixture, then top with leftover stuffing.  Sprinkle with a handful of dried cranberries, then dot with butter and bake until warm.  

·        Turkey grilled cheese – stuff your favourite bread with turkey, grilled squash, brie cheese and cranberry sauce.  Spread with butter and grill on both sides until golden brown.

·        Zesty turkey & peanut soup (recipe can be found on my website at:

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you, your family and friends.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

recipe: rosemary shorttbread with pears & camboloza cheese

I have a confession (a dirty-little secret if you would) to share with you:  my husband and I don’t entertain in December.  December is by far the busiest month of the year at my store, and all of my time and energy needs to be focused on the shop.  Working in retail in December is loads of fun though, as there is an indescribable energy all around, and (almost) everyone is in a fabulous mood!

That being said, I sometimes daydream about the kind of parties I would host if I weren’t so busy.  What repeatedly comes to mind is a “brunch-by-the-bite” hors d’oeuvres party.  

Friends and family would arrive late morning on a Saturday.  Everyone would most definitely be greeted at the door with a mimosa.  After most of the guests had arrived, I’d start passing mini-sized versions of classic, comfort breakfast and brunch foods, such as:  tiny BLT sandwiches, mini quiches and frittata’s, small skewers of roasted potatoes with aioli, teeny-tiny pastries (think muffins, Danishes, scones, shortbread), fresh fruit skewers, shot glasses of fruit smoothies, and more.

Who doesn’t love breakfast food?  And let’s face it, December is a crazy busy time for everyone, so a late-morning to early-afternoon party means that you still have a good chunk of the afternoon and evening to get other things accomplished.

Below is one of the recipes from my “mock menu” for this fantasy party!

rosemary shorttbread with pears & camboloza cheese


2 (two) cups all-purpose flour
1½ (one-and-one-half) tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (one) cup unsalted butter, softened
½ (one-half) cup packed brown sugar
1 (one) cup camboloza cheese (or goat cheese), softened
½ (one-half) cup spiced pear chutney, jam or confit
1 (one) pear, sliced (skin on) into 1 inch pieces, to garnish


1.      Preheat oven to 300°F.
2.      In a bowl whisk together flour and rosemary.  In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined. 
3.      Press dough evenly into an 11 x 7-inch or 9-inch square baking pan and with a sharp knife score about ¼-inch deep in top 1 ½ inch squares or rectangles. 
4.      Bake shortbread in middle of oven 45 to 55 minutes, or until pale golden.
5.      Cool shortbread in pan on a rack and cut completely through score marks.
6.      Top cooled shortbread with about a teaspoon of softened cheese, a dollop of jam and a piece of sliced pear.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2011 Newsletter

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December 2011 [image]

::: gifts for cooks...and hostess gifts! -$12.98 each - any of our 41 varieties of extra-virgin olive oil or aged balsamic vinegar (200 ml)
-15.98 and up - dsg wrapped hostess gifts & gourmet gift baskets
$18.98 - 60 ml. bottle of our white truffle oil & 60 ml. bottle of our black truffle salt, all wrapped up
-$13.98 - $14.98 coach house shortbread, 10 flavours, wrapped package of 18 pieces
-rheo thompson candies chocolate, reid chocolate, eve chocolate....need I say more?
-$10.00 and up - dana shortt gourmet gift certificates
$149.98 - 2 L italian, stainless steel "fusti" container filled with 2 L of your choice of extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar

::: what's in our fresh fridge today?
-brownies $6.98/slab
-tons of fresh scones $8.98/8
-quesadillas $10.98 each
-wild mushroom soup with sherry $9.98/L
-best ever meatloaf $9.98 small, $19.98 large
-white chicken chili $14.98
-lamb shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping $9.98 small, $19.98 large
::: recipe-of-the-month
I am thrilled to announce that my friend Tina Roberts has finished her cookbook and it is now available for sale at the shop!
Many of you will recognize Tina's name because she's contributed so many wonderful recipes to my newsletters and Chronicle columns over the years - including her famous "blueberry drizzle salad" and her award-winning "marinated brie".
Her cookbook is titled "The Two Sisters cookbook". Tina originally planned on only making 3 copies - one for herself, one for her sister Audrey and one for her mom. However, the cookbook was such a huge hit with friends and family that she ended up giving away over 100 copies! Long story short, Tina decided to adapt the original version and create 20 new menus, each inspired by a family memory.
Tina has generously shared a new recipe from the book - her Caesar Crisps (from the "Marry Me" menu).
Also - Tina is holding her cookbook launch at our shop on Sunday, December 11th from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please stop by to meet Tina and enjoy some sample recipes from her book!
Tina's Caesar Crisps
Tina says “I love Caesar Salad, so I thought I’d put my creativity to work and invent an appetizer that has the same delicious flavours. This appetizer is also pretty to serve during the holiday season – the red and green are perfect at Christmas”.
1 large egg yolk
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, pressed
½ tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
red hot cayenne pepper sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large flour tortillas

1 cup peeled, seeded, and finely
chopped tomatoes (about 1 pound)
kosher salt
½ cup grated Asiago cheese
2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup finely chopped romaine lettuce hearts

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together yolk, cheese, juice, zest, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and pepper in a small bowl
until smooth. Slowly whisk in oil. Divide egg mixture evenly over tortillas. Place tortillas on baking sheets.
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain excess liquid from tomatoes.
Sprinkle tomatoes, Asiago, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses evenly over tortillas.
Bake tortillas for 12 to 14 minutes or until tortillas are golden and cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven.
Add the love: Slice tortillas into wedges, sprinkle with lettuce, and serve immediately.

Tip:To peel tomatoes, wash tomatoes thoroughly and bring a pot
of water to a boil. Cut a shallow ‘x’ into the bottom of each tomato.
Place tomatoes into boiling water and remove after 30 seconds. Run
Under cold water to remove skins.

::: 12 days of christmas sales (thursday, dec 1 - monday, dec 12) We are offering the following specials:
-two, wood-fired 9" pizza's for $13.98 including tax (7 varieties to choose from)
-large, 10" leek & sausage pot pie for $13.98 including tax
-15 pack spring rolls for $10 including tax
-mulligatawny & spinach-tomato thakali soups for $8/L including tax
PLUS - our cheese tortes are on sale!
Sun, Dec 4 - maple pecan ice wine torte for $13 including tax (save $4)
Sun, Dec 11 - pesto tomato torte for $12 including tax (save $4)
::: extended holiday hours
Holiday Hours starting Dec 1:
Monday - Friday - 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday - 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday - 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Dec 4, 11 and 18th only)
note: we are open all days in December with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day
::: one of my favourite blogs
One of my favourite blogs (and it's local!) is called Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat.
It's an amazing resource filled with fitness advice, diet & nutrition tips, food and product reviews and tons of delicious, healthy recipes.
I recently got in touch with Angela to tell her about our new olive oil & balsamic vinegar tasting bar, as I knew from reading her blog that she loved cooking with balsamic vinegars.
Angela recently stopped by the shop to check out our "bar" and wrote a comprehensive review of her experience, complete with photos.
Please check out her review and blog by clicking the link below:

::: gift baskets!
We would love to help you with your corporate and/or personal gourmet gift baskets this holiday season.
Baskets start at $40.00 and up and are filled with our made in-house items as well as customer favourites like Rheo Thompson Candies & Reid Chocolates.
Click on the link to view our 2011 holiday basket info:
::: coach house shortbread!
Did you know that we are one of only 14 retailers in Canada selling "Coach House Shortbread"? We carry 10 flavours - 5 sweet and 5 savoury.
The shortbreads are featured in the current holiday issue of the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine (last page of the magazine) and Vicky Sanderson of the Toronto Star recently wrote that they are "the best shortbread I've ever had in my life (sorry, mom)"
Click here for their website with more info:
::: merry christmas!
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa to all of you from all of us at DSG!
Thank you for your loyal patronage and support in 2011 - we look forward to serving you in 2012.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

recipe: ultimate grilled cheese

My favourite things about autumn include:  plush warm sweaters, my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner, warm apple cider, a trip to Shantzholm to pick up pumpkins with David and Johnny, Halloween-sized Snickers bars, and getting to watch new episodes of my favourite T.V. shows.

I’m currently enjoying a couple new series. One that’s particularly fun is called “Man vs. Food”.  It airs on the Travel Channel, and is hosted by Adam Richman. His passion, humour and knowledge of food industry makes him perfect for this show – that and his ability to pack away a TON of food.  

This series is somewhat like Food TV’s “Diners, Dive-ins and Dives” in that Richman tours mom & pop shops from coast to coast, however, every episode of this show ends with an eating contest of sorts (hence the show’s name).

Some of the contests are shocking, a few mouthwatering, but all are somewhat disturbing (my Aunt Deb and Mom can’t even watch the show).   A recent episode (although this was a repeat) featured the “ultimate” grilled cheese sandwich, from a bar in Cleveland called “Bar and Grilled”. The sandwich featured fourteen cheeses, three-and-a-half pounds of it in total.  

I was surprised to be craving a grilled cheese sandwich by the end of that episode, considering it could have just as easily turned me off grilled cheese for life, given the magnitude of the sandwich.  Anyway, here’s my version of the ultimate grilled cheese, toned-down considerably from the Man vs. Food version.

Dana’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich


·        2 (two) slices of whole grain bread
·        1 (one) tablespoon Dutch apple pie jam, or your favourite apple or pear jam
·        1 (one) ounce St. Agur blue cheese
·        1 (one) ounce old cheddar cheese
·        ½ (one-half) apple or pear, thin slices with skin on
·        2 (two) slices cooked bacon, crisp
·        a small handful of spinach
·        1 (one) tablespoon butter, softened


1.      Spread jam onto one slice of bread, top with both cheeses, apple or pear slices, bacon and spinach.  Top with second slice of bread and press down.
2.      Spread each (outside) slice of bread with ½ tablespoon of softened butter.
3.      Heat frying pan over medium heat until hot, add sandwich and cook until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted, turning once, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

recipe: banana butterscotch muffins

MMMuffins.  Do you remember that chain of coffee/muffin shops, often found in the food court of the local mall?

Because of that franchise, to this day I’m a sucker for chocolate chip muffins.  Yes, I’m aware that they contain more fat and calories than your average donut…

I also loved their butterscotch pecan muffins, which looking back, were probably equivalent in fat and calories to TWO donuts.  But who cares, I only indulged in them from time to time and it was worth it.

My three year old son John and I love to bake together, and I thought that he would enjoy the butterscotch flavour of these muffins. I added bananas because yes, I’m still a mom and we have to include at least something nutritious in them.

I omitted pecans because John’s pre-school is a nut-free zone (add ½ cup to the batter if you so choose).
This recipe is adapted from “muffin mania’s” banana muffin recipe.

Banana Butterscotch Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)


·        2 (two) cups mashed bananas, about four-five medium sized bananas
·        ½ (one-half) cup granulated sugar
·        1 (one) egg, lightly beaten
·        1 (one) teaspoon vanilla
·        1/3 (one-third) cup melted butter, slightly cooled
·        1½ (one-and-one-half) cups all-purpose flour
·        1 (one) teaspoon baking soda
·        1 (one) teaspoon baking powder
·        ¼ (one-quarter) teaspoon salt
·        ½ (one-half) cup butterscotch chips
·        ½ (one-half) cup chopped pecans, optional


1.      Preheat oven to 375 F.
2.      In a large bowl, mash bananas.  Stir in sugar, egg and vanilla.  Add melted butter and stir. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together.  Add to banana mixture and stir only until just combined to make a thick batter.  Fold in butterscotch chips and pecans, if desired.
3.      Fill each cup of a muffin tin about 3/4 full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 2011 Newsletter - 7th Anniversary Sale Friday November 4th

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November 2011 [image]

::: what's in our fresh fridge today? -chicken, cheddar and salsa quesadillas
-bacon, apple, cheddar and caramelized onion quesadillas
-pumpkin and black bean soup
-marks famous minestrone soup
-chicken, bacon & vegetable bake with savoury biscuits
-Asian glazed salmon rolls with mango chutney
-lots of fresh scones 

::: recipe-of-the-month
Orange Shorttbread with dark chocolate chips
We are big fans of shorTTbread around here!
This is a recipe for a delicious shorttbread that we used to sell in the shop a number of years ago.
They freeze well (use parchment paper to separate layers in a tupperware or air tight container) and would look beautiful on a Christmas cookie platter.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons (packed) grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons whipping cream
8 ounces chocolate chips

1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour large baking sheet.
2. Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel, and orange extract in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in yolk, then cream. Add flour mixture; beat until dough comes together in moist clumps. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop dough by generous tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, spacing 3/4 inch apart. Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to 1/2-inch-thick round. Bake cookies until golden, about 18 minutes.
4. While still hot, top each cookie with a chocolate chip. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Move to the refrigerator to set the chocolate chip for about 15 to 20 minutes.

::: dana's secrets
Did you know that you can substitute crushed crackers (such as saltines) for breadcrumbs in most recipes? The crushed crackers make an extremely light, crisp crust. Try crushed crackers when crusting fish fillets, chicken tenders, and baked soft cheeses such as chevre.

::: 7th year anniversary sale TOMORROW - Fri, Nov 4th from 10-7 Please join us for our anniversary sale tomorrow!
Hogtails BBQ Restaurant will be on site with their mobile smoker, sampling their delicious pulled pork.
We are now using Hogtails pulled pork and beef brisket exclusively in our:
-pulled pork quesadilla's
-pulled pork chili
-beef brisket enchilada's
-fajita style beef quesadilla's
We will be offering free samples of the above items all day tomorrow - please come by to have a taste!

We will also be offering the following anniversary specials:
-banana bread $6 (reg price $9.98)
-pesto cheese torte $11 (reg price $15.98)
-classic Indian soups $7 (reg price $9.98)
-15% off all items featuring "hogtails" bbq meats
(limit of four of each of the above items, per customer please)
Lastly, all of our holiday decor, accessories and new food items will be out and available for sale.
::: coach house shortbread!
I am thrilled to announce that we are now carrying 10 flavours (both sweet & savoury) of "Coach House Shortbread" (in addition to our shorTTbread, of course!)
For those of you who attend the "one of a kind show" in Toronto, you may recognize this brand.
The shortbread are all butter, hand-made and are sold in gorgeous, multi-coloured Christmas cracker-style packaging. There are 18-20 shortbreads per package and they retail for $13.98 - $14.98, depending on flavour.
My (personal) sweet favourites are the pecan and chocolate fleur de sel, and my favourite savoury varieties include the gorgonzola pistachio and the asiago garlic.
They are only available in 16 shops across the country and we will be the only store carrying them in this region.
Click here for their website with more info:
(we'll be sampling these all day tomorrow as well!)

::: november's special of the month
15% off our new beef "chili con carne"
The sale price is $13.58 including tax, all month long (2 lbs, about 3-4 portions) 

::: corporate & personal gift baskets
We would love to help you with your corporate and/or personal gourmet gift baskets this holiday season.
Baskets start at $40.00 and up and are filled with our made in-house items as well as customer favourites like Rheo Thompson Candies & Reid Chocolates.
Click on the link below to view our gift basket flyer:


Thursday, October 27, 2011

DSG's 7th anniversary sale!

7th anniversary sale!

friday november 4th, 2011
10 am to 7 pm

drop by to:
  • taste delicious samples of our new line of entrees featuring 'hogtails' bbq!
  • take a look at our new gourmet foods, holiday treats and entertaining accessories
  • enter to win a gourmet gift basket 

take advantage of:
  • banana bread $6 (reg price $9.98)
  • sun dried tomato pesto cheese torte $11 (reg price $15.98)
  • classic Indian (Thiru's) soups $7 (reg price $9.98)
  • 15% off all items featuring 'hogtails' bbq meats
(note: limit of four of each item, per customer please)
dana shortt gourmet
55 erb street east unit 101
waterloo ontario


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Masala

I’ve had serious cravings for Indian food lately.  There’s just something about the cool fall weather that makes me want to get into the kitchen and cook plenty of belly-warming, richly-spiced dishes.  

I recently spent an entire Sunday morning leafing through various Indian cookbooks and on-line recipes until I determined exactly what I was craving.  I decided to make two big-batch dishes – a south-Indian style vegetable curry with coconut milk, cauliflower & root vegetables, as well as a butter chicken dish of sorts, with more subtle Indian flavours.

If you aren’t all that familiar with Indian food, but you’d like to try your hand at preparing something, this dish is an ideal one to start with.  It contains garam masala which means “hot mixture” in Hindi.

This Indian spice blend is usually used for finishing dishes but despite the name, garam masala is not especially spicy.  In fact, the "hot" may refer to the fact that the spices are toasted before grinding (but I’ll be honest and tell you that I usually cheat and buy the bagged, pre-ground version).

My husband David remarked that this dish tastes like an Indian version of a creamy rose (tomato-cream) pasta sauce, and he agreed that it would be pleasing to a “beginner” who might be a bit wary of Indian Food.

Chicken Masala
serves 4-6

·        4 (four) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into 1 inch cubes
(OR use one  whole rotisserie deli chicken, skin removed and chopped into small pieces), set aside
·        6 (six) tablespoons butter, divided
·        4 (four) cloves garlic, minced
·        3 (three) small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
·        2 (two), 28 (twenty-eight) oz. cans whole tomatoes in puree, reserve juices
·        1 (one) teaspoon garam masala spice blend (found in the spices/baking sections of most grocery stores)
·        3 (three) tablespoons ground cashews
·        ½ (one-half) cup heavy whipping cream
·        salt and pepper to taste
·        ¼ (one-quarter) cup chopped fresh cilantro
·        brown or white basmati rice, for serving

1.      Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add four tablespoons of the butter and once melted and foamy (but do not let brown), add the shallots and garlic. Turn heat down to low and cook until shallots/garlic have softened and are golden brown in colour, about 7 minutes.  Increase temperature slightly if the process is taking too long.
2.      Meanwhile, puree the whole tomatoes in a blender (reserve juice in cans).  Add to the browned garlic/shallot mixture and stir well to combine. Add salt, pepper and garam masala and cook for about 12-15 minutes or until the sauce is quite thick.  Then, turn off the heat, add the ground cashews and heavy cream and stir well (note: if the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a bit of the reserved tomato juice from the cans until the desired consistency is reached).
3.      Add in the cooked chicken pieces. Return to heat and cook on medium low for an additional 5-7 minutes, to allow the flavours to mingle.
4.      Serve over basmati rice, with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

recipe: classic Canadian buttertarts with Caramel Sauce

What do you think makes a good buttertart?  Is it the flaky, buttery pastry?  Or, are you, like me, all about the gooey, syrupy filling?  Do you love raisins in your buttertart or not so much?  What about nuts?  Do you prefer old-school corn syrup or pure maple syrup?

Such was the question that Kirstie and Jody of “The Culinary Studio” posed to a bunch of us chefs and foodies when they challenged us to compete in their first “Buttertart Competition” held back in their studio in August.

It was a sweet day (pun intended) and a lot of fun.  Our blackberry balsamic buttertart took home third prize.  Congratulations to Martin’s Family Fruit Farm who won first prize, and to Relish Cooking Studio who placed second.

If you haven’t heard of Relish yet, you should definitely make a point of stopping by their cooking school on
Regina St.
in Uptown Waterloo.  Their space is homey and inviting, and owners Donna-Marie and Maria are fervent foodies, passionate about teaching.  These caramel-laced butter tarts are to die for, and certainly worth every decadent calorie!

Relish Cooking Studio’s Classic Canadian Buttertarts with Caramel Sauce(makes 12 buttertarts)

ingredients crust

·        3/4 (three-quarters) cup all purpose flour
·        1/4 (one-quarter) cup bleached cake flour (we prefer Swans Down)
·        3 (three) oz. (or 3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter
·        2 (two) tbsps. chilled vegetable shortening
·        1/4 (one -quarter) cup ice water (plus a few droplets if necessary)

ingredients filling

·        3/4 (three-quarters) cup dark brown sugar
·        3/4 (three-quarters) cup corn syrup
·        1/2 (one-half) cup unsalted butter, melted
·        2 (two) large eggs at room temperature
·        1 (one) tsp white vinegar
·        1 (one) tsp. vanilla extract
·        1/2 (one-half) cup golden raisins

ingredients caramel sauce

·        1 (one) cup granulated sugar
·        1 (one) tbsp. corn syrup
·        1 (one) tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
·        1/4 (one-quarter) cup water
·        3/4 (three-quarters) cup whipping cream
·        1 (one) tbsp. unsalted butter
·        2 (two) tsps. vanilla extract


1.      To make crust:  Put the flour, salt and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly.  Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times.  Remove the cover and feel the dough (it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together).  It’s important not to over mix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine. If it is too dry, pulse in droplets more water.  From now on work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.

2.      Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass.  For the final blending, rapidly and roughly with the heel (not the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you in a 6-inch smear.

3.      Form the dough into a disc (it should be fairly smooth and pliable).  Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and refrigerate.  Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax the gluten.

4.      To make filling:  Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan. In a bowl, whisk sugar, corn syrup and butter in a bowl by hand until combined.  Whisk in eggs, then vinegar and vanilla.

5.      Sprinkle a few raisins in the bottom of each muffin cup and pour filling over the raisins.

6.      Bake the tarts for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to 375 °F and continue baking until butter tart filling starts to dome, about 20 more minutes.  Cool tarts in the tin, and chill the tarts in the tin before removing. Drizzle with caramel sauce before serving.

7.      To make Caramel Sauce:  Bring sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and water to a boil over high heat in a covered heavy-bottomed saucepot.  Do not stir!  Remove lid once boiling and let sugar cook, brushing sides of the pot right against sugar with cool water once or twice, until an amber colour.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream (watch out for steam). Stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

8.      Caramel sauce can be prepared ahead and chilled until ready to serve.  Simply heat in microwave to warm. Carmel sauce will keep up to a week refrigerated.  Yield: approximately 1½ (one-and-a-half) cups.

catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets