Best $17 ever…well, almost ever….


Teaching, as you know, is often a thankless job. Randomly you might get an atta girl thrown at you but other than that you don’t get a lot of positive feedback. Unless of course, “I hate homework” is positive feedback.
So when I started to get comments on my blog I was just giddy. Wow, positive feedback…and the actual day I post. But sadly there is some feedback I never get and wish I would. You might be surprised at the amount of email I answer a day. Sometimes I am even surprised. I always try and help when I can and I try and be honest when I can’t. No super woman here. But so many times after I get the email and help the person, I never hear from them again. It’s not that I am looking for a thanks, but I really want to know if what I told you worked out or not! It helps me too.
So a few months back (gosh maybe longer than that) a reader (who does not have a blog) wrote me and asked if she could have my address. Now I admit, I get nervous handing out my address to people, though really it is public record, but still (just keep in mind I do have an attack bunny…and a dog that will lick you…and you don’t want to know where that’s been). I gave it to her and that was it. Nothing came in the mail and of course part of me grew suspicious that now I would be getting extra junk mail. ;)
But then the other day I got a letter. Handwritten, so it really stuck out. The name was not one I knew and it seemed bulky. Hmm ( here CCS sniff the letter…you didn’t die, okay, I’ll open it) . I opened it up to find $17 cash and a note. There outlined in the note were 17 recipes that my reader K had tried from my site. It went through each one explaining what she liked about each recipe. It also told me how my suggestions on two of my recipes turned out. Yay, feedback! It also went on to say some nice things about me to further make my day. I also had to laugh as she informed me that she would be sending me a dollar for every recipe that she tried and liked from now on. She said she knew that running a food blog could get costly and she hoped I could use the money ( who can’t ;) ).
So readers of the Culinary Concoction world, please if you ask me a question, let me know how it turns out. Good or bad…I can take it, I’ve got my big girl panties on. :P

Perhaps one to add to her list is these here Butterscotch Tarts from my new cookbook obsession/crush, Baked. These are essentially Butterscotch Pudding in a Tart Shell, with Butterfinger Candy. So if you were feeling lazy and didn’t want to make the tart dough, you just just as easily spoon this into a glass and have at it.
Mine came no where as dark as the picture in the cookbook. I can understand for the pudding. I didn’t want to caramelize to dark, as it sometimes gets bitter. The tart shells however made no sense. I baked them for longer than what they said and they still stayed pale in color. They had great flavor and crispness but very pale. Odd. But I really liked the shell as it was different than what you normally get. I think it would be good with pumpkin pie filling as well.

Butterscotch Pudding Tarts

Oat Wheat Pie Crust

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup whole milk

Put the rolled oats in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds, until ground but not powdered. Add the flours, brown sugar, and salt and pulse until combined.
Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are small and the dough looks crumbly, like coarse sand. Add the milk and pulse for a few seconds.
Scoop the dough out of the food processor and form it into a large disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap the disk of chilled dough and put it directly on the work surface. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces, about 2 ounces each, and gently shape each piece into a smooth disk. The dough will be sticky. Make sure t turn the dough over as needed and keep the working surface floured. Put the dough disks in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a 6-inch round just over 1/8-inch thick. Place a round over a 4-inch tart pan and very gently press the dough into the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the pan to trim off the excess. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds. Use any excess dough trimmings to make a ninth tart shell or freeze for another time.
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Put the tart pans in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove the tarts from the freezer, then arrange on a baking sheet and gently prick the dough with a fork.
Bake on the baking sheet until golden brown, 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking time.
Transfer the tart pans to wire racks and let cool completely.

For the Butterscotch Pudding

6 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP unsalted butter
2 TBSP whiskey

Put the egg yolks in a large heat proof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water and stir gently with a heatproof spatula; do not splash the side of  the pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then increase the heat to medium-high heat and cook until the mixture begins to turn dark amber color. Swirl the pan, if necessary, to create an even color, but do not stir. Remove from heat, let stand for 1 minute, then use the heatproof spatula to stir in the cream. Pour the caramel into small bowl. Set aside.
In another small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the milk and whisk to combine.
Add the vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the caramel. Whisk together until combined, then pour one third of the mixture over the eggs. Keep whisking the egg mixture and add another third of the hot milk mixture. Transfer the egg mixture back to the saucepan with the milk minute and, whisking the whole time, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2-3 minutes, or until very thick.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and whiskey.
Keep whisking vigorously for about 1 minute to cool the pudding slightly. Let the pudding sit for about 15 minutes.

To assemble the tarts:

Whisk the pudding one more time until smooth. Divide the pudding equally among the tart shells an sprinkle some crumbled Butterfinger bar over the pudding. Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before serving.
The tarts can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito



  1. Whata funny & cute story! Those tarts look lovely!!

  2. That is the best story ever! I have been chagrined as a food writer to see my stock in trade (recipes) devalued so badly over the last decade by all the free content on the internet. That someone realized that recipe writing has value is heartening to the extreme.

    Also: butterscotch pudding – squee!

  3. that’s great–too funny! i know what you are saying…i don’t get many e-mail questions, but i always answer what i do get, and rarely get a reply or acknowlegdement of the 10 paragraphs just typed…oh well.

  4. That is a very nice story. What a sweet person K. is! I’m sure I don’t get nearly as many emails as you, but I have to say that probably 90% of those I do answer are responded to with appreciation. Of course, I also get the occasional smarty pants who writes to tell me how a recipe didn’t work for him/her and that something must be wrong with me! Oh well…..

    Your little tarts look great! I love anything butterscotch!

  5. Looks divine! And that IS the cutest story ever! I am a reader who asked you a question and I was very happy to get an answer! I have yet to use the frosting recipe I had the question for (it’s for cupcakes right before Halloween!), but as soon as I make them I will blog about it and let you know! Wait, who am I kidding… Two weeks after I make them I’ll blog them! That’s more like it.

  6. Correction… I had my blog address wrong in my previous comment. What a skilled blogger I am…

  7. That’s a great story! I too am super excited when I get comments. I’m lucky to get one or two on a post.
    I haven’t made tarts in a while and these look good. I think my husband would really like the butterscotch.

  8. What a sweet woman to do that.

    I am always enthralled with your creativity. Always. Generally I mentally smack myself and think…..’why didn’t “I” think of that’.

  9. Cute story! :) I love the tarts…I’ll let you know when i try something…i agree that feedback is always a plus! :)

  10. That’s a great story. And those tarts look so good.

  11. Oh baby. I love this story–and I love how you’ve got a sugar mamma now! I think this type of sugar mamma is acceptable though. :-)

    I too am battling an obsession with Baked! I just got their cookbook, and can’t wait to try recipes from it–having visited the shop in Brooklyn, I can attest to the extreme deliciousness of several things in it (I love the BakedBar!). This one I’ve gotta try soon!!

  12. Hi Peabody! I love your blog – so glad to hear you received your well-deserved feedback. I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE your bread pudding recipe (with the toffee sauce) – it’s my favorite treat to make and I use it as a reward after my 20-mile runs (I’m a marathoner). It’s AWESOME. Thanks for posting!

    btw- how’s LFB doing? Her eye going to be okay?

  13. Attack bunny?! That is too funny! That is really sweet of your reader… Though in reality I would be freaked out by an address request too.
    The tarts look delicious. Of course, I am a fan of anything butterscotch. I read the recipe and I have no idea why it didn’t brown the way it should, at least it reads like it should… Anyway, I used to be afraid to take it to the caramel level, but in time I learned that if I add cream to it, it takes a lot off the edge of the bitterness :)

  14. SO lovely :-)

    Oh my, those Butterscotch Pudding Tarts… feel free to send the leftovers my way!!

  15. What a wonderful story! And, those tarts… well, I’m drooling over those pictures!

  16. These look fabulous! I love butterscotch and butterfinger, and I’m sure they are amazing together. I’m really thinking about getting this cookbook. I found out that they’re opening another shop in Charleston, which is only a few hours away, so I’m definitely stopping next time I’m there :)

  17. Great story. I love a happy ending. I also love butterscotch – your tarts look absolutely scrumptious! Fab photos as always.

  18. I’ve loved everything I’ve made off your blog. I’m sorry it’s not such specific feedback. I don’t think I’ve tried 17 recipes though. :)
    These little tarts look delicious too!

  19. I think I owe ya $5.00 bucks….. LOL

    But then again, I always give you positive feedback and you do I.

    Thanks for everything.

    And if you go back to my first contact with you, it was the Snickerdoodle Muffins that started me on the FoodBlog path….

    I’m really enjoying it, as you can no doubt, tell.

  20. I love that story! Peabody, is the Baked Book you refer to, the same one you wrote about a couple of weeks ago by Matt Lewis? I am tempted to buy it on your recommendation but woudl need to order it from the states. Is it worth the buy? (without having seen it and knowing nothing about other than what you have blogged about!!!) Tammy

  21. oh and one more thing – would you recommend Baked over the Sweet Melissa book?

  22. That is the sweetest thing EVAR.
    Seriously. Genuinely nice people warm my heart.

    Those tarts look tasty. I am a sucker for anything butterscotch. I’m particularly glad to see whiskey in the recipe. I’ve seen so many butterscotch recipes without it– which just feels wrong to me.

  23. Wow, those tartlets look heavenly! That’s a scrumptious delicacy! Too good to be true ;-P!



  24. dear goodness!! you are totally making all the recipes i have marked to try from that book! your butterscotch might not be the same color (and we all know that was probably photoshopped anyway!) but your tarts still look mighty fine!!

  25. ah I feel with you! so much effort goes into answering requests and then nothing, not a single word of thanks. as if your reply had gone straight into their spam filter!
    i have had a few positive experiences from people who appreciate the effort as well, though: a lovely woman in japan who keeps sending me stuff that is not available outside of japan or a local “fan” who i converted to sourdough baking just recently deposited a box of very smelly cheese on my doorstep… and I thought he *liked* the recipes ;-)

  26. i feel the same! generally i take pains in answering mails and queries – but often get no feedback in return it can be a bummer. still there are many positive examples i have experienced which makes up for it. but i love the unique idea your reader had. if we all did that peas, you’d be a millionaire! These tarts look incredible. i just love the flavor of butterscotch!

  27. I love this post.
    I too think if someone write to you and ask about a recipe, thenit is normal they give a feedback about it.
    I make sure that i go and tell the blogger about the recipe i made from her blog.

  28. That’s so sweet of that reader to send you money. Much better than that person who asked for a refund because of the muffins. :)

  29. What an awesome story! Those tarts looks so dang good- I’m salivating. mmm!

  30. How funny! People make the sweetest thing sometimes! Now this little tart I’m sure it deserves yet another dollar!

  31. Feedback is always nice! I really like the sound of butterscotch pudding in a tart! They look great!

  32. That’s a really cute story! This looks incredible, by the way (oh and in case you’re wondering, I haven’t made the almond joy cupcakes yet because I ate like 100000 calories over the weekend. lol)

  33. I’ll have to make these for my Dad. He always tells the story how for years he ask my mom for butterscotch pudding and she never made it.
    You have got to have the wildest bunch of readers – ever. They really show great ‘variety’ ;0)

  34. These look fabulous…and loved the story. As an avid reader of your blog (and many other wonderful ones out there) and a relative novice, I soak up all your knowledge and feedback and suggestions! Thanks!

  35. How sweet of her to send you a letter – I don’t think people do that nowadays anymore. Very kind.
    Since you are very kind and generous with everyone, too, I’m not surprised – you should get more of those, Pea. :)

  36. I was racking my brains to see if I was one of the guilty ones, but I don’t think so! It can only be a teacher that is so committed to answer all mails…I know!
    Great looking tarts!!!

  37. I think I owe you some too…& had better add these to the envelope. What a heart warming post, & probably the best appreciation ever. WAY TO GO!!! I love these tarts, shell & all!! Have a great day…

  38. I love that story! And those tarts look fabulous!

  39. I can see why that would make your day!! I’ve posted about a few of your recipes that I’ve made on my blog – but now I need to get you some money in the mail! :)

    And just so you know, I have a girl at work that still talks about the Key Lime Cupcakes I made of yours – and it was probably over a year ago!!

  40. so cool that you got a handwritten letter (and not to mention $)! i love getting mail.

    when i saw these little tarts on foodgawker i knew they had to be from one of my blogger faves. they are the image of fall comfort.

  41. First, I hope Bunny continues to improve.
    Second, what a great story! And this post is a Sign: I have been craving butterscotch pudding like nobody’s business, so I know I’ll have to make something with it this weekend!

  42. Gorgeous tarts – I love the idea of a wheaty-oaty crust to go with the butterscotch filling. Yummy!

  43. You so rock. I know what you mean about people emailing with questions and then disappearing without another word after you reply. Hmmm – manners, anyone?! I have several folders in my email, such as strangers, friends, and idiots. That was incredibly nice of your reader to send you $17, but more importantly, the letter with feedback. How awesome! I love the look of those tarts.

  44. people have no idea how far a simple ‘thanks!’ can go. very cute story and the tarts look delicious!

  45. that’s so nice of her! you probably deserve much more than that, as you provide stellar recipes without fail and enjoyable commentary as well. :)
    these tarts should earn you at least $5. :)

  46. That was so nice of her to send you a dollar for every recipe she tried. Very cool. Great story and another great recipe!

  47. That is awesome! What a thoughtful reader. I know what you mean about the emails. Sometimes it would be nice to get a follow up about how things turned out.

  48. What a great story! And what a thoughtful reader too, I can only imagine how big your grin was when you realized a handwritten note had arrived in your box!

  49. Do you have any other suggestions for the crust? Maybe a shortbread recipe? My husband would not be a fan of the oat whole wheat one. Thanks!!!!

  50. awww that is so nice of her to send you that.

    those pies look so nummy. i love butterscotch.


  1. […] calorie reduced crust didn’t meet my expectations. This morning I ran across Peabody’s Butterscotch Pudding Tarts and decided to try the tart crust with my pie. I halved the crust recipe and decreased the salt by […]

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