An easy to assemble treat perfect for any Canada Day celebration. Red Berry Swirl Tartlets are flaky, buttery, creamy, and sweet!
In the world of food blogging, I find that Canada Day is one particular celebration that’s almost completely void of food that mimics the colours and/or patriotic symbolism of this beautiful country. Here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I have a few recipes that celebrate America’s Fourth of July, so this year, in addition to new Independence Day themed recipes, I decided to up my Canada Day recipe game as well.
Using the word patriotic to describe Canada is not something I feel really comfortable with doing. It’s not that Canucks aren’t a proud people; I think it’s the fact that Canadians are modest and humble. Of course, I’m not stating that in contrast Americans aren’t those things as well, but it seems that America loves a good excuse to host a party!
You must admit, my Dear American Reader, the Fourth of July is a huge deal for you. Just a few years ago, I was writing up a recipe and was doing a little bit of research into America’s Independence Day. I stumbled upon a fact sheet which I found extremely interesting. The website had compiled a list of Fourth of July food consumption.
The one piece of trivia that stood out the most was this one: Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July. They also spend 92 million dollars on chips, 167 million on watermelon, and 341 million on beer. I can guarantee you, even if you were to do the math, taking into account the major differences in the population here in Canada versus the United States, our numbers would be a small fraction of those.
So, why is it that Canadians don’t celebrate Canada Day with more red and white food? Do a search on Pinterest for Canada Day food and then do another search for Fourth of July food. See the major difference? The only reason I can think of is that Canada Day is not usually celebrated the way Americans celebrate Independence Day.
Americans tend to celebrate Independence Day with with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies. In addition, various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States take place on July 4th as well.
In contrast, Canadians usually celebrate Canada Day with fireworks and live music. Large outdoor concerts featuring some of Canada’s best musicians and singers are a very common attraction. In smaller towns there might be a parade or a community volunteer-based pancake breakfast. It is surely not a large spectacle like it is for our neighbours to the south.
When it comes to red and white food, there’s not an over abundance of it on Canada Day. Local grocery stores stock red and white cakes and cupcakes. Every Tim Horton’s has a red and white cookie. And, I think that’s about it. So, I say, let’s change it! Let’s up our red and white Canada Day themed food. Who’s with me?
Oh, and let’s try to stay away from dyes and colourings. There’s so many food items that are red and can be used to create yummy Canada Day food. If you must use food colouring, go ahead, but I’m going to try to keep these Red Berry Swirl Tartlets colouring free. The raspberries and strawberries take care of the red part, while the white part is that delicious cream cheese filling.
In addition to red and white foods, Canada has numerous foods that we call our own and we are super proud of. We all know and love poutine; there’s nanimo bars, which are one of my favourite homemade treats. There’s donairs and buttertarts; there’s bannock and Montreal-style bagels; and of course there’s maple syrup.
Now, I tend to think of Canadian dishes as more local than national. For example, I can think of a few dishes that are popular in each and every province, but not too wide spread outside of that particular region. For example, if you ask someone from outside of Newfoundland if they’ve ever eaten toutons, they might not have a clue what you’re talking about. (Toutons are made from dough that has been fried to a deep golden brown colour in either butter or the rendered fat from salted pork. Top them with molasses or jam; served alone or with thick cut fried bologna or ham.)
However you celebrate Canada Day, I hope you have fun and enjoy it to the fullest. We live in a great country and we should acknowledge that and be thankful for it every chance we get, not only on July 1st. Whether your celebrations are big or small, with lots of red and white food or a pizza delivery, I wish you a happy and safe Canada Day!
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Red Berry Swirl Tartlets
- 20 tart shells, (ready to bake from the freezer section at your local grocer, follow package instructions)
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon white vanilla extract, (can use regular vanilla extract)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint strawberries, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Bake the mini tart shells according to package instructions and set aside to cool.
- While the tarts are baking, place the topping ingredients into a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until the berries break down, the sugar dissolves, and the mixture becomes thick. Stir constantly. This process will take about 15-20 minutes over medium heat. Don't walk away – the filling will burn quite easily.
- Once the filling is done, remove from heat and pour the filling into a glass bowl. Set aside to cool completely.
- In the meantime, beat the cream cheese using a hand-held mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Add the lime juice, white vanilla extract, and milk to the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. Set aside.
- Now, you're ready to assemble. It is very important that the tarts and the filling are cooled to room temperature!
- Using a small cookie scoop, place about a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each tart.
- Next, add about one teaspoon of the topping mixture onto the cream cheese mixture.
- Use a toothpick to swirl the topping mixture into the filling mixture.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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