Greetings from the Frozen North!
We have been on the hunt for the perfect Ugly Christmas Sweater… please divulge any whereabouts to us in this quest, it would be much appreciated. Beyond that, it’s been business as usual around Brovskyland. The home improvements have ceased and the kingdom is getting back to normalcy before the holidays blow into town. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re having fun!
Common contenders for the national food of Canada include: Butter tarts (beaver tails), mac & cheese, maple-syrup-smothered-anything and poutine. We definitely love our mac n’ cheese here in the states (and in the land of brovsky’s… in fact, it might be the national food of my sister. she could live on this particular food). Obviously, there’s no complaint about the other two dishes- so we went with maple-syrup tarts and beaver tails. The root of Canadian culture is French, so it does go without saying that much of the traditional cuisine has a french origin or influence. So all I can pass along to those watching their waistlines– the key to French cooking: Butter. Butter. More Butter.
THE DINNER/DESSERTS: For those not in the know, beaver tails are fluffy pastries that are fried and powdered and are a cousin to the other fried french pastry the beignet. Who doesn’t love a fried pastry?! It’s warm and comforting and perfect for our Sunday football watching here state-side. Everything that the Canadians do in way of food is pretty magical if you’re in the mood for comfort and big taste. They have taken all the best things from their French roots in taste profile and ingredients but updated it to North American sensibility and made it accessible cuisine for the everyday. It’s all very clever and ingenuitous. We decided that every once in a while, as a functioning adult, you need to have dessert for dinner. So that’s exactly what we planned to do this weekend for Canada. The tarts have Canadian whiskey soaked raisins and tasted so much like pecan pie (which happens to be my favorite thing every).
Canadian Butter Tarts Recipe:http://www.bakingobsession.com/2008/06/25/canadian-butter-tarts/#more-369
Beaver Tail Pastry Recipe: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/213590/theras-canadian-fried-dough/
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR STARS out of five for this Dinner.
This one was difficult. Really, if you’ve ever made any kind of pastry, you realize why this is rated a four and a half. Dough is finicky and if you’re impatient or cut corners on pastries, you’re doomed. So it was, as most things tend to be, a labor of love with these two dishes. The maple butter tarts were a smidgen easier than the beavertails, only in that the beavertails were fried and that’s a whole different ball game. Please be careful if you are making the beavertails as frying is not to be taken lightly!
Best dish of all time scale: FIVE and out of five for the Dinner.
The tarts were, as mentioned above, like warm pecan pie without the nuts. The raisins were a really clever addition to this take on the traditional American pie. The crust was really interesting- talk about deep freeze, batman! Now, as a baker, I completely understand the necessity of cold, cold, cold dough. It makes everything incredibly flaky and lovely and butter doesn’t play well when warm— however, putting the tarts in the freezer for 30 min was literally a new one for us. The beavertails were very much like a doughnut- but somehow better. They were not cake-like but light and fluffy and though you can serve the any way you want from brown sugar to nutella to maple syrup, our frosting glaze was perfect for the warm ‘tails. As an objective baker and consumer of sweet things, I feel it only in everyone’s best interest if I set out to try every beavertail topping option… you know, for posterity, of course. One thing was for sure, it delightful to be an adult and eat dessert for dinner 😉
We have decided to head back across the pond for this weekend’s food adventure. We will be taking in the cuisine of Denmark! It’s not all tulips and red lights around there, it seems to be the birthplace of the picnic!
Life’s short, eat dessert first!
– L & K