~ Family Bliss ~

Three butter tarts on a plate, with flash

Three butter tarts on a plate, with flash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favourite definitions of bliss is family harmony. I am in a family sort of mood this weekend as my sister Peggy and my favourite (and only—but that does not take away from him being my favourite) brother-in-law, Herb are visiting us from Ottawa which is about an eight hour drive away. I have not seen them for over a year and a half.

They arrived in our small town of Kingsville at suppertime last night, and are staying at my oldest brother Jim’s house. My kids came over, his kids came over and we had pizza and beer and Prosecco and a lot of hugs and laughs. I am feeling wrapped up in warmth this morning.

Today my sister and I are going to lunch and I am taking her to my favourite winery, showing her our new library, and just spending time with her. We email each other every day and talk several times a month, but having her here in person is such a treat.

The “boys” will be hanging out together today and talking cars and politics, and joking around a lot. Then we will all meet to go out to dinner tonight, using up a certificate my brother was given for Christmas at a nice restaurant up town. The only thing missing is my other brother John and my sister-in-law Starr, but they were here a few weeks ago—so the last few weeks have been rift with family moments that I just want to capture, put in a jar, and save.

So since John is not here, I am going to share one of his favourite treats that my Mom used to make and he devoured. In fact, he would line these tarts up on his arm and eat them one by one with a big glass of milk. It is an image I will never forget.

My mother, unlike her oldest daughter (me) baked up a storm, particularly at holidays.  This recipe is for her famous raisin tarts, and though I have never made them, I can attest to the fact that they are the best ever.

So, on this Saturday in mid-January I share with you a little family bliss and a little piece of bliss from my childhood in the form of these tarts.

Raisin Butter Tarts


2 eggs

2 tbsp.vinegar

1 cup butter melted

2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups of raisins, nuts, or currants (Mom always used raisins and walnut pieces)

Beat eggs only until whites and yolks are mixed. Beat in sugar, vinegar and vanilla. Stir in melted butter and fruit and nuts. Half fill tart shells. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees for 20 minutes longer.

Enjoy a little bit of heavenly bliss!

This recipe was handwritten in a spiral notebook which is covered in splatters from many many sessions in the kitchen. I may not have lined up my arm with these tarts, but I always had more than my fair share.

Do you have a recipe that harkens  back to your childhood days?

Published in: on January 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm  Comments (51)  
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51 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oooh, that really does look like ‘heavenly bliss’ ~ one to try, for sure 🙂

  2. YUM! Those look delicious. Anything with brown sugar, butter and vanilla pretty much has me sold. 🙂
    Enjoy your family time!!!

  3. my mothers shortbread..;)

  4. Sounds like bliss to me :). Enjoy

  5. This looks really yummy. Have a wonderful family weekend. 🙂

  6. Sounds like an awesome recipe, and sounds like an awesome day. Lunch with sister–what a great idea! I should give mine a call…..

  7. I have recently wanted a raisin buttertart receipe. I have printed it off and stashed it in my file. Thanks

  8. Have a wonderful time with your family!

  9. My mother would take leftover pie crust, roll it out, fill it with butter, raisins and brown sugar, and bake it. Pure joy to my senses.

  10. It’s great that you have your sis and bil visiting.The pie looks delicious but I could not eat it- too much sugar. Well I cold taste it though. My mother had cookie receipes but they were not her own. She made coffe cake but there was no receipe. I didn’t have enough sense when I was young to get her to write it down.

  11. That sounds like a perfectly blissful weekend!! Enjoy every moment, store them in the mental archives, and then if you are every having a day lacking in bliss you can pull them out and relive them :). As for recipes, I will always remember (and now make myself) my mom’s whipped shortbread cookies. They are melt in your mouth yummy goodness! I also remember squares she used to make but I don’t remember what they were called. They were made with rolled oats, brown sugar, etc., and they were delicious. I have the recipe somewhere – I must dig it out!

    • whipped shortbread cookies sound like heaven — and this weekend has been wonderful–I can hardly move because of course it is no family get together without food

      • Isn’t it funny how bliss can come from totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Your bliss this weekend involves being surrounded by family while my bliss is being all by myself. My hubby is working a show down in Toronto, so he was gone yesterday from about 8am to 9pm. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my hubby, but I also enjoy alone time. After getting the normal weekend chores done (laundry, vacuuming, etc.), I spent the rest of the day curled up on the couch under a blankie reading a good book. Daniel was home, but he was downstairs playing video games, and the house was completely silent. It was bliss supreme :). I think I might just do the same today, even though there are other chores still to do. I won’t be able to relax though until my hubby gets down to Toronto again because the weather here has been absolutely horrible overnight. It has been snowing and blowing so hard that the windows were rattling, and we actually had a snow thunderstorm in the night with big flashes of lightning and heart thumping crashes of thunder. It was crazy!!

  12. This is real bliss! Sharing time and feeling the love with people who REALLY know you. Hope you and your family has a great time, Lou Ann and that recipe looks delicious! Have a blissful day, my friend.

  13. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in our home without shortbread and nuts and bolts made using my mother’s recipes. I’m quite certain that the shortbread recipe was originally my grandmother’s and now both recipes have been handed on to the next generation.

    Enjoy your time with your sister!

    • I love shortbread–it is odd that my mom never made it–you are lucky to have a multi-generational recipe

      • It’s delicious and so simple to make.

      • I make a kind of shortbread but with brown sugar–

  14. Live it up. Family time is always the best!!!

  15. They sound yummy..Like you I don’t bake much but I do make my mother’s wonderful Apple Pie whenever there’s an occasion…Diane

  16. Family and butter tarts – I could use that bliss right now 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. You had me at pizza and beer!

    The Raisin Butter Tarts look very blissful 😉

  18. I do know what you mean about family bliss, LouAnn. Both of my parents are gone, and my only sibling, my younger sister and I are very close. We get together twice a year for at least a week. We do road trips, cook together and laugh a lot. It is wonderful – truly blissful!

  19. Oh Yummy…. I love how certain foods trigger wonderful childhood memories.. for me it was my Mother’s spaghetti sauce simmering away in her cast iron pot.. I miss those aromas 🙂

    • I love spaghetti sauce made from love and not a bottle or can

      • she made the best… but then many of us think our Mom’s were the best cooks..
        have a great day today 🙂

      • I know, all of our moms did make the best–so true

  20. Those tarts look like the mince pies we have in the UK at Christmas, they have a pastry top too, but other than that, pretty much the same. Both my grandmothers cooked a lot, one was very British, so it was traditional British baking, and the other was French Egyptian, so it was very middle eastern/mediterranean cooking, so I have whole load of different food memories from childhood that I sometimes try to recreate, but it’s never the same.

    • yes but by recreating them you are making them your own and unique–what wonderful traditions you have to copy

  21. I know what you mean about having family time, it’s something I love too. There’s nothing better than just spending time with our loved ones is there? My brother lives about 5 hours away from me and I miss the day-to-day stuff with my sister in law and my nieces. It’s great when we can get together over the summer and enjoy good food and good fun with each other. I hope the rest of your sister’s visit is filled with much love and laughter.

    • it was wonderful–saw them off this morning – sad but we had a really good time

  22. Yum, those tarts look scrumptious. My mum used to make swiss rolls filled with home-made strawberry jam and cream. They were delicious. I need to bug her into making them again!

    • wonderful memories that can be revived are moments of bliss don’t you think?

  23. […] ~ Family Bliss ~ (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com) […]

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