|Image courtesy of Canadian Living Magazine|
Butter tarts are an iconic Canadian dessert, as Canadian as Nanaimo bars, in fact (although we’ll talk about those in another post).
There are tons of recipes for butter tarts out there; the simplest and easiest call for the baker to use pre-made tart shells found in the grocery store freezer section. The more complicated recipes call for making one’s own pastry dough as well as the filling, and essentially require the baker to keep very aware of temperatures and timing; it’s important to understand the components of pastry dough and the best way to roll and rest your pastry so it comes out flaky and buttery, not tough and oily.
Of course, since it was my wedding and I am proud of my baking, I opted for the latter method.
Because it’s not like I had anything else to do. /sarcasm
I opted for the recipe below because of its stable, “jelly-like” filling, as opposed to the ooey-gooey filling that is my personal favourite, mainly because I worried that the gooey tarts might drip too much, and I didn’t want anyone to get their lovely wedding frocks all dirty!
I have included two gooey filling recipes at the bottom if you prefer those, like I do!
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup half-and-half cream (10% butterfat)
- 1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (toasted and chopped) (optional)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) corn syrup
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, softened
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) currants or raisins or chopped pecans or shredded coconut
Whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt until blended; set aside. Divide currants etc. among shells. Spoon in filling until three-quarters full.
Bake in bottom third of 450 degree F oven until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden, about 12 minutes. Let stand on rack for 1 minute. Run metal spatula around tarts to loosen; carefully slide spatula under tarts and transfer to rack to let cool.
Maple Butter Tart Filling (gooey)
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) maple syrup, (No. 1 medium grade)
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnut halves, dried currants, golden raisins (or a mixture)
Bake in 350?F (180?C) oven until filling is set and pastry is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Run thin knife around edges to release tarts. Let cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool completely.