Peanut Butter Butter Tarts and Beautiful Boys...

Always in the mood for peanut butter, and frequently thinking about my mother's butter tarts, I decided to blend the two. 

Mine will never come close to Mom's, but I made these my own.  Rich and sweet, they bring back memories of my childhood.  Even now, at 30, I still ask her to make them when we're going to be together.  There's just something about baked goods from your mother that can't compare to anything else.  I'm convinced there's a little extra love baked in when she's making something for me.  I hope my boys feel the same about me and my baking when they grow up. 

The smell of sugar and warm chocolate, baking cakes or brownies, chocolate chip cookies and butter tarts.  I hope that in 30 years, when they're sitting in their homes, they smell something sweet and think of me; about the love that went into everything I made. 

Pâte Brisée (Short Crust Pastry)
Recipe Adapted Courtesy of Joy of Baking
(Printable Recipe)

1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon White Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/8 to 1/4 Cup Ice water

~The recipe on Joy of Baking called for the use of a food processor.  I have one but it just wouldn't work for me.  Go figure, two babies, why should anything be easy?  If you prefer the processor method, see the attached link. 

In a bowl, mix flour, salt, and sugar.  Cut in (I used a pastry cutter but you could use two butter knives) the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, or small peas. 

Pour 1/8 cup of the ice water into your mixture and blend with your hands until the dough holds together when pinched between your fingers.  (You may need to add a little more water; I used almost the whole 1/4 Cup.)

 Gather the dough into a ball and then wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk.  Put it in the fridge for at least an hour to chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 

After your hour is up, place your dough on a lightly floured surface (I placed mine between two sheets of wax paper; less mess...  I'm all about less mess!) and roll it out until it's about 1/4" thick.  Cut it into 12 4" rounds.  (Make them big enough to fill your muffin tin cup; this allows maximum fillage!) 

Once you've filled your muffin cups, cover and put back in the fridge for half an hour or so while you make your filling. 

Peanut Butter Filling

1/3 C Butter (I used Salted, just personal preference)
1 C Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 t Vanilla
1/4 C light cream (half & half)
1/3-1/2 C Peanut Butter

*Optional additions of raisins or nuts

With an electric or hand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar.   Beat in your eggs, one at a time and then add your vanilla. 

Stir in the cream and peanut butter until mixture is smooth. 

*If you're using nuts or raisins, place a spoonful of them in the bottom of each shell.

Fill your unbaked shells with filling and then place in a 375° oven for 15-20 minutes or until shells have nicely browned and filling has set. 

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

If you dare.

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