Raisin Tarts

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: housework and I, in general, don’t get along. On the flip side of that, I like to have a clean home. Have you ever noticed that your living room is a lot cozier if all the dishes are done and the kitchen counters wiped down? Weird. On the flip side of that, there are things in life a lot more important than vacuuming every day and folding laundry.

But not when your landlord comes over.

He dropped by last night, just to see us, the apartment, and drop off a tax receipt (though it turns out we don’t need them anymore… since when?). I was a wee little bit stressed out by the visit. As much as I’m willing to admit that I don’t like housework and do as little as I can possibly get away with, I don’t actually like the idea of casual visitors being able to see the evidence of this. Especially if they’re casual visitors who could decide to charge us for a full scale cleaning after we move out.

On top of all that, Mr. A had no knowledge of our adorable pooch.

– Remember, he has no power over us, M said.

– Right.

– It’s not like we’ll ever need him for a rental reference or anything.

– Right.

– And he can’t kick us out, even if we weren’t leaving.

True: in Ontario, landlords have the power to turn down an applicant if they have pets, but they may not evict them if they get one.

I had nothing to worry about.

Especially when we opened the door to our friendly Iranian landlord and heard the excited exclamation, “Oh, you have a dog! Oh, hello, hello!”

The apartment was beyond clean, thanks to my frantic scrubbing the day before, so after he left and I collapsed into one of our comfy Ikea chairs, I was able to seamlessly move into complete relaxation. Of course, this raisin tart helped immensely.

These were the product of leftover pie dough, the remnants of Pi day’s meat pie, useless bits that I couldn’t bear to throw out. Combined with the only recipe I had all the ingredients for (read no eggs, fruit, or anything perishable required) in the Joy of Cooking, these turned our reasonably well for my first attempt at tart making.

Raisin Tarts
From The Joy of Cooking with a few additional suggestions

Filling

1 cup raisins
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and raisins to a boil over high heat. Allow to boil for 5 minutes or so, or until you get bored of waiting. Stir in the brown sugar and mix well.

Remove from heat and add the cornstarch, lemon juice, and butter. Mix well together and set the filling aside to cool to room temperature.

For the crust: like I said, remnants work well for these. If you want you can put this filling into a pie or, do as I did and turn it into tarts. For tarts, roll out your remnants and cut out a piece of dough that will fit nicely into a muffin tin. Grease your muffin tin and gently fold and press the circle of dough into the tin. Make it fit around the curves by creating little folds (or big folds, whatever you prefer). It doesn’t have to be perfect. Cut away the excess leaving a nice sized lip of overhang. If desired, fold the edges over or under and pinch together to create a smoother look. Repeat until all your excess is gone. My remnants got me four tarts with just a little dough leftover — not enough for anything.

Once your filling is room temperature, fill your tarts half full or, like these, all full, depending on your preferences. I found that mine were a little overfull — too much filling and not enough pastry — but M liked them just as they were. So, this step is all personal preference.

Pop your muffin tin into a 400* oven and bake for 20 minutes to half an hour, or until the pie crust has browned slightly.

It is amazing and kind of sad how quickly my kitchen gets messy again.

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