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Jul 26, 2006 11:57 PM

Need help from Canadian cooks/bakers!

My In-Laws are coming to visit and for the first time we are cooking dinner for them this weekend. They are from Canada and like butter tarts, but I don't have a recipe for traditional Canadian butter tarts, which I'm guessing are very different from traditional butter tarts made in the southern US. I'd really like to attempt a Canadian version, as my mother-in-law appreciates gestures like that. Thanks in advance!

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    1. Pastry
      -1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
      -little pinch of salt
      -1/2 cup cold butter, cubed.
      -1 egg yolk
      -1 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice

      To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour with your hands, then pop the bowl into the freezer for awhile to get cold again. Then mix the egg yolk and lemon juice with enough ice water to make about 1/3 of a cup. Whisk the water and egg into the flour butter mixture with a fork until it all just starts to stick together. Pat it into a mass with your hands, wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.

      -2 tbsp butter, softened
      -1/2 cup packed brown sugar
      -1/2 cup corn syrup (you can play with the ratio of syrup to sugar a bit - more syrup makes them runnier, more sugar makes them more gelatinous)
      -1 egg
      -1 tsp vanilla

      Optional: 1/2 cup of raisins, currants, chopped pecans or any combination thereof. Cranberries are nice too.

      For the filling, mix everything together in a bowl. That's it.

      Once the pastry is suitably chilled (at least an hour, remember), take it out of the fridge, unwrap it, and roll it to desired thickness. Cut out circles with a 10cm cookie cutter or an empty can, re-rolling the scraps if necessary. Pat circles into a muffin tin. Fill tarts 2/3rds full. Bake at 450%F for 12 minutes or until filling is bubbly and pastry is browning a bit.

      Take them out and let them stand for a minute, then run a spatula around each tart, pop them out (if you wait too long, this becomes more difficult), and let them cool.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Zengarden

        My Mom was English, not Canadian (though some of her family emmigrated there), and she made lovley jam tarts every holiday season. Using a rolled pastry such as above, crimp the circles (she used a wide teacup for a cutter) into the muffin tin depressions. Use a very good seedless jam or jelly--Mom used her homemade blackberry--and place a teaspoon or so into the cup bottom. Bake and cool. These are winners, and your MIL is probably familiar with them. They'd make a nice addition to your custard tart tray.

        Don't know if this is an English tradition or not, but when making a pie, Mom fashioned leftover dough scraps into circles and placing a shard of sharp ("nippy") cheddar on one 1/2 of the circle, she folded the other 1/2 over to make a tart. She crimped and pricked, and baked them alongside the pie....removed when golden, and cooled. These were much sought-after by the "helpers" who suddenly appeared in the kitchen!

        Best of luck--actually your MIL is lucky to have such a thoughtful 'daughter'!

      2. Here is a recipe for butter tart squares. My mom has a good butter tart recipe, I'll see if she can email it to me and I'll post it, but she's not very good with email.
        You could check some Canadian magazines on-line for a recipe - Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Homemakers..
        Good luck.

        1. Here is the test of a good butter tart:

          Crispy, not sweet pastry that is on the thickish side for a tart this size. Not too thick though.
          Caramelized crispy top.
          Bite into the tart and the interior slowly oozes out, just slow enough to quickly catch it on your tongue.
          Raisins / currants are optional and nuts are frowned upon.

          This opinion comes from Eastern Ontario and may be challenged by Canadians from other parts of Canada.

          I'm sure yours will be fabulous. Enjoy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mila

            Very helpful descriptives for the finished product!

            Thanks to all!

          2. Christine Cushing has a good recipe:

            Actually, you can search; there are many butter tart recipes you can choose from there. I think I might like currants better than raisins. (It is true that nuts don't belong in butter tarts, but I live in Toronto.)