While many of us look back on our lives and think—where the heck did the time go?—it doesn’t take a catastrophe like Lilith and her father had to endure to make us realize that life is indeed short, and we’d better be grateful for what we have in the present. During the month of March, the sap begins to run up here in the northern hemisphere, and I can't think of a better way to ring in Spring than with a mouth-watering treat from nature. The following recipe will make you appreciate the sweet things in your life, and is great to prepare on those cherished afternoons of baking with a loved one.
Maple Madness Butter Tarts
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. (5 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) all-vegetable shortening, well chilled (we use CRISCO® Golden All-Vegetable Shortening)
4-8 tbsp. (60-120 mL) ice cold water
BLEND flour and salt in medium mixing bowl. Cut ½-inch (1.5 cm) cubes of chilled shortening into flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces remaining.
SPRINKLE 4 tbsp. (60 mL) of the ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top; press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, mixing until dough holds together.
DIVIDE dough into two balls. Flatten balls into ½-inch (1.5 cm) thick disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
PLACE ball of dough on lightly floured work surface. With floured rolling pin, roll out thinly from center outward. Cut out 6 rounds with 4” (10 cm) cutter. Repeat with second ball of dough. Fit rounds into 12 medium-sized muffin cups.
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
¼ cup (60 mL) corn syrup
¼ cup (60 mL) all-vegetable shortening
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup of raisin or pecans (if desired)
PREHEAT oven to 425°F (220°C)
COMBINE all filling ingredients except raisins (or pecans); mix well.
EVENLY divide raisins (or pecans) into pastry shells.
FILL cups ⅔ full with syrup mixture.
BAKE on bottom shelf for 12 to 15 minutes or just until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
MAKES 12 Maple Madness butter tarts.
Now, while you’re waiting for your butter tarts to cool, why not partake in an afternoon of cozying up on the couch with a good book? Ready for a trip to Atlantis?
Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.
To read an excerpt from Legend of the Timekeepers or purchase a copy, please click a vendor's name Mirror World Publishing - Amazon US - Amazon CA
If you haven’t already read Sharon Ledwith's novel, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, here’s the blurb…
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.
To read more of the Arch of Atlantis or purchase a copy, please click a vendor's name Mirror World Publishing - Amazon US - Amazon CA