LAST week, Jack and Carol Boyer wrote in looking for "never-boil-over butter tarts," as their copy of the recipe had gone astray. Originally from a CJOB potluck cookbook, the recipe originally appeared in these pages back in 2009 and was clipped, tried and saved by many readers. That's always a good sign, and this recipe is worth revisiting. Thanks to Jan Robinson, Esther Roy, Joan Anderson, Donna Scibak, Margaret Deally, Monica Lambourne, Winnie Styles, Lynne Hopley, Marg Austin and a few more readers who preferred to remain anonymous. And for Marjorey Dwornick, who misses the golden dragon meatballs made at the Shanghai restaurant, Roberta Fastershank sent in a recipe for this incredibly rich dish. Her family also loved the version at the Shanghai, a Chinatown icon that closed in 2011.
Bread and Circuses Bakery, another popular neighbourhood place that recently shut its doors, also has readers pining for recipes. Janet Handel would like to replicate their oatmeal and date sandwich cookies, while Rachel Siebert really misses their lemon tea cookies. Wanda Urshcatz is hoping someone saved a Recipe Swap recipe from a few years back for Turtle Brownies: The base started with a cake mix and was topped with layers of caramel, chocolate and chopped pecans. If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Golden dragon meatballs
1 kg (2 lbs) ground pork or ground beef or a mixture of the two
sliver of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
30 ml (2 tbsp) hoisin sauce or shoyu sauce, divided
500 g (1 lb) bacon
3 eggs, beaten
plain fine breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for deep frying
250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar
250 ml (1 cup) vinegar
125 ml-175 ml (1/2-3/4 cup) catsup
In large bowl, combine meat, ginger, garlic and 15 ml (1 tbsp) hoisin or shoyu sauce. Form into small meatballs, wrap each meatball with 1/2 strip of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Dip the meatballs in egg and then roll in breadcrumbs. (At this point, the toothpicks can be removed, as meatballs will hold their shape.) In a large heavy pot, heat about 7.5 cm (3 in) oil to medium-high heat, and deep fry meatballs in batches until golden brown. Remove from oil and place in a frying pan set over low-medium heat. Make sauce by mixing brown sugar, vinegar, catsup and remaining hoisin or shoyu sauce. Pour sauce over meatballs and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
Tester's notes: I never had the golden dragon meatballs at the Shanghai, so I don't know how closely these match, but they are dangerously tasty. I made meatballs that were about 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter, which yielded about 48, a good fit for the amount of bacon. (Don't use thick-cut or country-style bacon, as it won't wrap around.) I amped up the garlic and ginger a little, and used a bit more hoisin in the sauce. You will probably need to have two frying pans going to cook all the meatballs at once, which could require a bit more sauce. Do make sure they are completely cooked: Test a few by cutting right through and ensuring there is no pink in the middle.
Never-boil-over butter tarts
250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) corn syrup
60 ml (1/4 cup) melted butter
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
10 ml (2 tsp) white vinegar
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
raisins or currants
unbaked regular tart shells, premade or homemade
Preheat oven to 205C (400F). In a medium bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt until mixture is full of bubbles. Place 6 raisins at bottom of each pastry shell and fill with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Yields between 12-16 tarts, depending on size.
Tester's notes: True to their name, these tarts can be filled almost to the top, and while they magically puff up while baking, they do not boil over. I used an electric mixer on high for a few minutes until the mixture was pale and bubbly. Some readers have tinkered a bit with the recipe. Winnie Styles, for instance, likes her tarts a bit less sweet so has cut the sugar to 175 ml (3/4 cup) and always uses currants rather than raisins. The recipe should yield about 16 tarts if using frozen 7.5 cm (3 in) tart shells. I used homemade pastry, cutting out slightly larger circles to place in medium muffin cups, and ended up with about a dozen.