There are few things that say “Canadian” better than these: red and white, maple syrup, nanaimo bars, and, of course, butter tarts.
Many people have looked upon butter tarts with disdain because their innards have been marred with the likes of raisins or currants. (I, personally, do not mind either, but much prefer the buttery, sticky goodness without the little bursts of extra sugar inside.) Other people scoff at them because they’re too runny, or too solid. There definitely is a fine art to the butter tart, to which my husband’s love for them has caused me to strive to reach for it.
Thanks to a wonderful cookbook we received for our wedding, I do believe we’ve found the perfect butter tart recipe. Keep in mind, you can use whatever pastry for the crust you want, but if it is very humid (which it was when I made these on the weekend – hot and humid in October in Ontario?! Weird) you may want to go with a butter pastry to prevent cracking and falling apart. Succulent and flavourful, slightly runny, but not overly sweet, these are melt-in-your-mouth delectable.
Best Ever Canadian Butter Tarts
recipe adapted from The New Canadian Basics Cookbook – makes 24 tarts
pastry for 2 pie crusts (there will be a bit left over)
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup or maple syrup
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
Cream together butter and sugar, adding in syrup, egg, vinegar and vanilla with a pinch of salt. Roll out dough and cut with 2 small cups or 1 large cup to make a circle. Press into muffin pan for the shell (2 smaller cups will make 1 half of the circle each and give a slightly thicker bottom). Play around with the sizes of your cups until you get one that suits. If your dough is really thick, you can also just cut a single circle and then press it out to a large size.
Fill the shells 3/4 full with the filling. Bake @ 375F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.
If your crust is really flaky, leave the tarts to cool longer in the pans so the tarts don’t fall apart.