It was the seventies and we ate margarine.
Why did we forsake butter?
It was all the hoopla about getting a lard ass from eating foods with fat. Well, I won’t say that’s not a real fear, but now the research is saying real butter was always better than that fake oleo crap.
Falling into the health mis-trends of the time, my mom was partial to Parkay and Promise. Perhaps as a new American she felt some cache in loading her supermarket cart with the same crap the Old Americans were. I used to slather this fake s**t on my rye toast, waiting for it to melt, but it never did. Nothing beats the neon glow of margarine in the morning, right?
Though butter didn’t figure too much in our Korean cooking, I recall eating a lot of it around the sixth grade at my friend Meredith’s house. After school we’d walk over to her empty apartment where we’d make cinnamon toast by smothering slices of white bread with slabs of butter and mounds of sugar. We induced many a lard ass coma this way, but at least we used real butter.
With my cinnamon toast-eating days long gone, my butter consumption pertains mostly to the baked goods I make myself.
A good place for your butter intake to start is a tart with a good crust. This crust recipe calls for two sticks of butter and makes a wonderful platform for thinly sliced apples, baked and glazed.
I don’t think it can get any butter.
(adapted from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis)
You could use this crust for other tarts, too. I am thinking pear, plum, or what about strawberry? Or you could go the savory route with mushrooms and Fontina or chard, red onion and Gorgonzola.
2 cups of flour, extra for dusting
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten, plus enough ice water to make 1/2 cup
1. If using a stand mixer, put flour, butter and salt into the mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment mix on low until the dough looks mealy with large pieces of butter. Pour in the egg-water mixture and mix for one to two minutes. Just until the dough comes together.
2. If mixing by hand, use your finger to work the butter into the flour. Pour in the egg- water and knead for one or two minutes. Do not over handle.
3. Divide the dough in two pieces. Sprinkle each piece with a little flour and pat into rectangles about one inch thick. Wrap each piece separately and refrigerate for at least an hour up to 24 hours. Or freeze if not using right away.
4. Roll out the dough into an approximate 11×16 inch rectangle. I roll my dough out directly on a baker’s half sheet pan. I go for as thin as I can get it, usually somewhere between an eighth to a quarter of an inch. You can keep it thicker than that if you like.
5. Keep the crust covered and refrigerated until you are ready to assemble your tart.