Known as one of the ultimate True North desserts, nothing says Canadian like the flaky pastry filled with a sticky-sweet centre of a butter tart. Butter tarts are really a cross between a pecan pie and sugar pie in a small tart form. I enjoy making these ewwy gooey treats of goodness during the holidays when everyone expects to eat more calories then normal.
Recipes for the butter tart vary depending on where you are in Canada and the recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Given this, the appearance, firmness of the pastry and consistency of the filling can also vary. Often raisins, currents, pecans or walnuts are added to the filling for crunch or texture but now home and professional chiefs are getting creative by adding chocolate, coconut or even bacon to the filling.
Whatever your preference for the filling is, I promise you that these little ewwy gooey treats of goodness are worth every calorie.
Here is what you will need:
For the tart:
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1/45 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 3 tbsp of ice cold water
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup or maple syrup (whatever your flavour preference is)
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ½ cup raisins, pecans or walnuts (whatever your preference, I used walnuts)
Here is how to make it:
- Pre heat the oven to 425°.
- Lightly grease 12 regular sized muffin cups.
- To make the dough in a standing mixer or food processor, stir together flour, sugar and salt.
- Add the butter and toss to coat with the flour.
- Mix on low until the texture resembles course cornmeal.
- Add the ice water and mix until the ingredients pull together to form the dough.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (although most dough recipes call for chilling the dough, the great thing about this recipe is you can roll out the dough first before chilling).
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough and cut into 4 inch rounds.
- Fit into muffin cups and set aside.
- For the filling, combine all the ingredients except for the walnuts.
Sprinkle the walnuts in a single layer in the bottom of the tart lined muffin cups.
Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from from pans.
I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!