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Butter Tarts

Name: Butter Tarts
Country: Canada
Category: Desserts, Main Ingredient: Other

Serves: 12-16, Measurements in: english

  • Filling:
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins -(or walnuts, or both!)
  • Pastry: You need a flaky melt in the mouth pastry crust. (this is enough for 24 tarts)
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 pound Tenderflake lard
  • 1 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 small egg, slightly beaten (or 1/2 lg egg)
  • Water

For Pastry:

Cut lard into cubes (about 1 inch) and freeze. Blend flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor.

After the lard is frozen, add to the flour mix. Pulse until mixture is crumbly and resembles small peas.

Combine vinegar and egg in a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1/2 cup. Add the liquid mixture through the feed tube. Continue until the mixture forms a ball.

Divide into two and form into flat disks. Chill for about 15 minutes. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a floured board until 1/8 inch thick. Cut to the appropriate size and line the tart tins. Save the 2nd piece for later or make a second batch of filling.

While I am making the filling, I place the lined tart tins in the freezer. You get flakier pastry if you keep it chilled before baking.

For Filling:

1. If you are going for raisins, soak them first in hot water (warm rum will work too if you dry them off well).

2. Mix together the soft butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup; stir well until sugar is dissolved and butter is creamed. (Purist insist that using a wooden spoon makes a difference -LOL)

3. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

4. Drain and dry raisins and divide them equally into the tart shells then fill with butter mixture until 3/4 full (If you are into nuts by all means add a few pcs of chopped walnuts with the rasins or on their own)

5. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes (see note); filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling. (I place the tins on a tray to guard against the filling boiling over because I like to overfill mine!!! - yum!

6. Let cooked butter tarts cool in their pans for 10 minutes; then it's safe to remove and place them on racks until completely cool.

Special Notes:
Canadians are very serious about this pastry. Sarah Brown wrote that there are three things which most Canadians have strong opinions on: religion, politics and butter tarts. “Never should these words, or any reference to them, be mentioned in social gatherings unless waging bloody battle is the intended result.” (Globe and Mail 2001)

NOTE: Canadians fall into two camps about butter tart consistency -runny or firm. If you like firm, bake them for the full 20 minutes. For runny - 15. I won't even go into the opinions on rasins vs plain, thick(deep) vs thin (shallow) etc.

NOTE 2: The filling is an award winning one from Wilkes Bakery in Ontario. The pastry is mine and works well at sea level- if you like a softer pastry you can go 60/40 Lard/butter or even 50/50.

NOTE 3: For special occasions (ie Canada Day July 1st) you can substitute Maple Syrup for half of the Corn Syrup.  (yummmy)- also it's hard to say how many tarts you will get as it depends on if you are adding the nuts and raisins or not.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 5th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)
Right, I'm making these this weekend! They sound a bit like caramel tarts, which I love.
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
Minor typo
The 1.2 pounds of lard in the pastry part, should be 1/2 pounds

1/2 pound is 1 cup

Jun. 5th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
Re: Minor typo

I'm so glad we have a butter tarts recipe! Can you please edit your post to make that correct? I don't have access to edit. Thanks
Jun. 5th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
Re: Minor typo
Ok - it is corrected, as well as the tags.
These are addictive so be very careful.
Jun. 5th, 2007 06:54 am (UTC)
Re: Minor typo
Oh haha, lucky otherwise I would've put in half a kilo of the stuff!
BTW, and forgive me if I'm missing it in the recipe, but what diameter tart tins do you need to use?
Jun. 5th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
Tart tin diameter
Oh dear - this is a matter of great discussion and debate. It depends on if you are in favor of deep or shallow tarts.

For the record: I am strongly in favour of DEEP tarts and use a muffin tin with the following dimensions 2 3/4" diameter at the top, 2" diameter at the bottom, 1 1/4" deep.

The decision is yours.... lots of small tarts or a few big juicy ones!
Jun. 5th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
These are low-calorie, right? So I can eat like a dozen of them without gaining any weight?
Jun. 5th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
low calorie?
Well - not exactly. However you could resort to the known FACT that all food eaten while standing has no calories. The theory relates to gravity: ie the calories apparently bypass the stomach flowing directly down the legs and through the soles of the feet into the earth, like electricity. Walking while eating seems to accelerate this process.
Jun. 5th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
Re: low calorie?
Good to know! So if I eat one and then run around the outside of my house a few times, I may be into negative calorie territory. I could even LOSE weight while eating these. This is what I'm going to tell myself this weekend while I'm polishing off two or three!

Quick question - anyone have any idea what I could substitute for Tenderflake lard, which I'm not sure is available in the States. Would Crisco, a vegetable shortening, work, do you think?
Jun. 7th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Re: lard substitute
hmmm.... I'm sure crisco would make a great pastry but I don't use the stuff - I'm a lard/butter 60/40 girl myself. I can't vouch for the pastry recipe if you use vegetable shortening, however, just use whatever good pastry recipe you like.
Jun. 5th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
These tarts sound a lot like the filling for pecan pie. If I were to have AR at my house for dinner, that's what I'd make for dessert! I can't wait to try to make the tarts!
Jun. 11th, 2007 11:20 am (UTC)
Right, tried this one out. Tastes great, but I need some help with the aesthetics. Any advice, golfwizard?
Jun. 11th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
I posted a reply on your site, with advice re oven issues. The pictures were great! The butter tart is Canada's national pastry .... you now qualify for an honorary commemorative medallion for producing them correctly in a foreign country.

Soon I will be posting British Columbia's official pastry recipe, The Nanaimo Bar.
Jul. 4th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
OK, how aboot these babies?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I reduced my oven temp to stop them from bubbling over. Sacrilege, I know, but I'm unconvinced that my oven pays attention to the temperature knob.
Jul. 5th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
I'm happy if you are! I just made three dozen over the weekend with maple syrup for a party and there were NO leftovers for me, sniff - bummer.

(It must be frustrating to bake in an unreliable oven - I'd go mad.)
Jul. 7th, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
Whoa, I'm completely impressed! They look perfect!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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