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15.12.11

CANADIAN BUTTER TARTS


Butter tart is true Canadiana. Butter tart did NOT descend from the American pecan pie and what you put in it has become the source of several national debates. Butter tarts supposed to taste buttery; hence the name: “BUTTER tart”? The purist approach is no nuts or raisins, because it would have to be a nut or a raisin tart, would it not? I have to confess I like mine with raisins. However, I stop there, because adding molasses, corn syrup, or even maple syrup would be a sacrilege. Americans put out far more cookbooks than Canadians do, so it is not surprising that most cookbooks insist on using corn syrup. I myself think that corn syrup is the absolute worst in a butter tart; it overpowers the delicate taste of butter and makes it sickly sweet. If your preference is runny and syrupy, well that is quite all right, but then please stop calling it “butter tart”, because it is not. One more thing, butter tarts are more attractive if made with light brown sugar. Light brown sugar melts better and gives a golden hue to the tarts. This brings me to the pastry. We can buy frozen tart shells in Canada just for our butter tarts.


But if you live somewhere else or it is getting close to Christmas and you can no longer find them in the stores, it is not hard to make your own pie pastry. However, try to avoid stretching the dough. Stretching the dough will shrink the pastry during baking considerably. Then the filling spills over and you have a mess. If you follow the instructions to the letter, you will not have any problems with your butter tarts.

1/2 batch of pie pastry [makes 20 four inch tart shells]

Filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup raisins or chopped walnuts

• Make 1/2 batch from this recipe
• Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes.
• On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out thin. If you cannot get 20 rounds, your dough is too thick.
• With a 4 inch round pastry cutter cut out 20 rounds.
• Re-roll all the scraps you need them. I only had a tiny bit of dough left over, about the size of a walnut. If you have a 12-muffin tin, cover the extra rounds with plastic wrap and set them aside to use later.
• Line the muffin tin with the pastry rounds. Lightly press the dough into the corners of the pan, leaving no space between the dough and the pan or the tart will shrink as it nestles into the pan during baking.
• Next, place the pan with the empty dough shells into the fridge for 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile prepare the filling.
• Chop the butter into chunks and place them in a saucepan.
• Add the light brown sugar.
• On moderate heat, begin to melt the butter stirring continuously.
• Before all the butter melts, remove saucepan from the heat. You are not making toffee so do not overheat.
• Continue stirring away from the heat until all the butter melts.
• Transfer mixture to a medium sized bowl.
• Add the whipping cream and the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
• Whisk in the eggs one at the time.
• Pour mixture into a measuring cup with a spout scraping out all the contents and then set it aside.
• Take the chilled tart shells out of the freezer.
• Drop 4-5 raisins or bits of chopped walnuts into each tart shell.
• Whisk the butter filling one more time and then pour it into the tart shells filling them only 2/3 of the way.
• Bake the tarts at 375F for 14 minutes, or until the filling is puffed up.
• Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
• Let the tarts cool before removing from the muffin tins.
• Yields: 20 tarts



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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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