Tag Archives: butter tart

Celebrate Summertime With These Creative S’mores Butter Tarts

What do you get when you combine two classic Canadian desserts? The ultimate summertime treat: s’mores butter tarts! These feature a classic butter tart filling along with the three components of a s’more: milk chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows. Get the campfire songs ready — this dessert doesn’t disappoint.

S’mores Butter Tarts Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Servings: 18 s’mores butter tarts

Ingredients:

Crust
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ tsp fine salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
¼ cup ice water

Filling
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup corn syrup
1 large egg, whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
½ cup chopped milk chocolate, plus more for topping
1 cup mini marshmallows
Graham cracker crumbs, for topping

Directions:

Crust
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs and salt. Using your hands, work in the butter until a crumbly mixture is formed.

2. Add the ice water and mix until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc.

3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Related: Our Best Great Canadian Butter Tart Recipes

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut dough into 18 circles and shape into a muffin pan. If using a larger muffin pan, cut dough into 12 circles. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Filling
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, egg, vanilla and salt until well blended. Transfer to a pourable measuring cup.

3. Sprinkle a few pieces of chocolate in each tart shell. Evenly divide filling amongst the shells. The tarts should be ¾ of the way full.

4. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and crust is golden.

5. Remove from the oven and top with marshmallows. Just before serving, broil the tarts for 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. Top with a sprinkle of graham crackers and shaved chocolate. Enjoy!

Want more fun summertime treats? These Nanaimo bar popsicles and strawberry rhubarb cheesecake pastry pockets are so delish.

maple-butter-tart-pie

Maple Butter Tart Pie is a Canadian Classic with a Tasty Twist

Canadians are kind of obsessed with butter tarts and there’s a good reason. The light and flaky pastry holds a gooey, sweet, and slightly runny filling that is sometimes studded with pecans or raisins.  The buttery treats are so beloved that they’ve garnered an annual festival in their honour, where fans can get their butter tart fill.

Needless to say, this dessert has a big place in the hearts of Canadians. But we’ve taken it to new heights with a family-sized maple butter tart pie that is so good, everyone will find room for dessert.

This larger tart celebrates our love of the Ontario favourite with inspiration from Quebec’s maple-filled  dessert “tarte au sucre.” Our version starts with a light cream cheese pie crust, baked with an addictive filled that’s a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup – no corn syrup here! As the pie cooks the sugar caramelizes to create a light crunchy top with a custard-like interior. Bake it up for your next get together and see for yourself!

butter-tart-pie-with-crust

Maple Butter Tart Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Freeze Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes: 1 (9-inch pie)

Ingredients:
Cream Cheese Pie Crust
2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup cold cream cheese
½ cup cold water

Maple Butter Tart Filling
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 egg yolks
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
¼ cup unsalted butter
Confectioners’ sugar

sliced-butter-tart-pie

Directions:
Dough
1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Add butter and cream cheese, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add ice water, 2 Tbsp at a time, just until the dough comes together. You may not need to use all of the water. Shape 2/3 of dough into a disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll large disk of dough to ¼-inch thickness. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim excess dough, and fold edges under. Roll remaining disk of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out leaves with a leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Brush each leaf with water and press onto edges of crust. Freeze for the crust for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
4. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of pie crust, letting ends extend over edges. Fill with pie weights. Bake until edges are set, about 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and bake for an additional 2 minutes, or just until bottom crust is set. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

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Filling
1. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, maple syrup, egg yolks, egg, vanilla and salt until smooth.
6. In a small saucepan, combine whipping cream and butter over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly pour into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain through a sieve, discarding any pieces. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
7. Bake in bottom third of oven, until golden brown and the filling is set (center should still tremble), about 1 hour 10 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminium foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool completely before serving. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Can’t get enough butter tarts? These Butter Tart Recipes will satisfy your sweet tooth.

trail-mix-in-a-bowl

Snacking Just Got a Little More Canadian with Butter Tart Trail Mix

Cottage canoe rides, road trips, relaxed barbecues and outdoor summer concerts all have one thing in common: they’re better with snacks! We’ve come up with a healthy staple trail mix that takes less than 5 minutes to make, along with a few fun Canadian twists to tickle your fancy and tantalize those taste buds, no matter where the summer takes you. Get out there and hike, paddle, cruise, grill and sway to your heart’s content – we’ll bring the snacks

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Basic Canadian Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ cup dried cherries

Directions:

1. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

nanaimo-bar-trail-mix

Take all your favourite flavours of Nanaimo bars into the woods with you by making some chocolatey trail mix. Not a fan of coconut? Our original trail mix is simply satisfying.

Nanaimo Bar Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted  walnuts halves
1 cup toasted, shaved coconut
¾ cup dark chocolate chunks
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
¼ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Mix together walnuts, coconut, chocolate, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

butter-tart-trail-mix

The choice is yours: candied pecans or candied bacon? There’s no wrong answer! Both our tasty butter tart trail mix and sweet and savoury bacon mix are satisfying.

Butter Tart Trail Mix Recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp salted or unsalted butter
1 cup pecans
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup raisins

Directions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

2. Melt brown sugar, water and butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture foams and the pan starts to look dry, about 5 minutes. Spoon onto prepared sheet and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix together candied pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and raisins. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month. 

Candied Bacon Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 strips bacon
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack. Spray rack with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place bacon in a shallow dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, turn to coat, pressing sugar onto bacon to adhere. Place on prepared cooling rack on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 min, or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, crumble or roughly chop.

3. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cherries and bacon. Serve immediately.

More bites this way with our Best Road Trip Snacks made for traffic jams and car singalongs.

Butter Tart Cheesecake

The Best Maple Butter Tart Cheesecake Recipe

The classic Canadian butter tart has many variations – pecans or raisins, firm or runny filling, crispy or flaky pastry — and everyone has their favourite combo. If there’s one thing that all Canadians can agree on, it is the fact that butter tarts are one of the most delicious desserts out there. So why not go one step further and combine your favourite Canadian sweet treat with another indulgent dessert — cheesecake. The result is a sweet and salty combination that gets topped with butter tart filling and lots of pecans for extra crunch!

Butter Tart Cheesecake

Maple Butter Tart Cheesecake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes + chill time
Makes: 10 slices

Ingredients:

Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake:
1 (250g) pkg cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup 35% whipping cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt

Maple Pecan Sauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp 35% cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Butter Tart Cheesecake

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch round springform pan.
2. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt. Firmly press graham cracker crumb mixture into bottom of greased pan and push 1 inch up the side. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
3. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer beat until well combined and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in maple syrup, cream, butter and salt.
4. Wrap bottom of the pan with aluminium foil. Pour in filling and place in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan about 1 inch up the side. Bake until edges are set and middle still has a jello-like wobble, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove pan from water and let cool, about 1 hour. Remove from tin, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight to chill completely before serving.
5. When ready to serve, make the sauce. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, maple syrup, cream, salt and pecans. Bring to a boil and let bubble for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Serve drizzled over cheesecake.

Butter Tart Cheesecake

Looking for more butter tart goodness? Try our Best Butter Tart Recipes.

Pecan-Butter-Tarts

The Sticky-Sweet History of the Butter Tart

How do you like your butter tart — firm or runny? With raisins or bacon bits? Made with butter or shortening? There are a gazillion and one ways to make (and eat!) a butter tart, but only one truly great place to enjoy them: in Canada, the birthplace of this sweet, satisfying treat. “The butter tart is 100 per cent Canadian,” says Anna Olson. “It’s an individual tart, as opposed to a full-sized pie.”

In case you’ve been in hibernation, a butter tart is a flaky, round pastry shell filled with a gooey buttery filling that’s semi-solid, with a crunchy top. Taste testing is almost a patriotic duty, offering a delicious way to sink your teeth into Canadian history.

whiskey butter tarts

Get the recipe for Pecan Whisky Butter Tarts

Like many legendary dishes, the butter tart’s origins are fuzzy. It’s believed that filles à marier (“marriageable girls”) created a crude version in the 1600s. These newly arrived Québécois brides filled their French tarts with New World ingredients: maple sugar, freshly churned butter and dried fruit such as raisins.

“The idea of mixing a syrup with eggs and dried fruit to form a dessert is an old one — and was likely born out of necessity to make do with ingredients on hand,” says Dr. Lenore Newman, food security and environment director at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Others believe the butter tart has roots in pecan pie, brought to Canada by Americans or possibly is related to Québec’s sugar pie or even Scottish border tarts. And some experts credit pioneer cooks for creating the beloved version known today, tracing the earliest printed recipes back to the 1900s. Ultimately, no one knows for sure, but the tart’s origins are likely a combination of all of the above. “It just slowly evolved and appeared,” says Anna. “It looks like a lot of other tarts: like the French [Canadian] tarte au sucre or a treacle tart [a traditional British dessert].”

Four hundred years later, the butter tart has become the quintessential Canadian sweet treat. It was all the rage in the 1920s and 1930s, and it’s one of the few authentically Canadian recipes that exists on paper.

“The butter tart’s success in Canada is likely linked to our general love of sweet desserts,” says Dr. Newman. “However I do feel that the butter tart is being influenced ever so slightly by Canada’s cuisine with its dedication to local foods. British and French settlers loved sugar, but butter tarts also fit a model of early Canadian foods that needed to pack a really high calorie load into each bite. We worked outside in the cold and needed to eat a lot more than we do now.”

Related: Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Today, the craze continues. There are even butter tart trails that dessert lovers can follow, with Ontario’s Kawarthas Northumberland Region and Wellington County offering maps and self-guided itineraries to explore local bakeries and cafes. What’s even more incredible is the butter tart has become an international superstar.

“No matter where I am travelling, I’m always asked to demonstrate a butter tart,” says Anna. “I have demonstrated butter tarts in Argentina, Moscow, Dubai, all over Southeast Asia. I just hosted a chef from the Philippines and the one thing on his checklist was trying a butter tart. Because the world knows the butter tart as ubiquitously Canadian.”

What makes an “authentic” Canadian butter tart? It’s a hotly debated topic within the baking community, especially when it comes to three aspects: should the tart’s filling be runny or firm? Should it contain raisins? And how far can you stray from the original recipe? According to Anna, there’s no clear answers: it really depends on the baker and the proof is, well, in the pastry.

“The butter tart has as many recipes as there are people who make them,” says Anna. “But whether it’s a filling made with maple syrup or corn syrup is very particular to the [baker]. Some swear by lard pastry, others by butter. To call it a butter tart, you can’t change the shape or syrupy filling.”

Nonetheless, bakers and pastry chefs are making endless and ever-evolving variations on this favourite Canuck dessert. Some stuff the flaky pastry cup with toasted pecans instead of raisins or even chocolate or bacon fillings.

The bacon butter tart has become a staple — it’s that salty crunch in the bottom,” says Anna. “I’m seeing more with chocolate melted into the syrupy filling. You could even put in marshmallows and chocolate chips for an s’mores butter tart!”

In recent years, some maverick chefs and bakers are even masterminding butter tart-flavoured foods, such as ice creams, cookies, cobblers and Butter Tart Cheesecake.

Butter Tart Cheesecake

“While you may not change the butter tart, you can integrate those flavours and textures elsewhere,” says Anna. “For my new cookbook, I want to do a butter tart swirl cheesecake that has that the same pastry crunch, butteriness and drifty caramel swirl.”

It’s worth taking a tantalizing tart trip across Canada to try all the variations and recipes, with Anna naming Niagara’s 13th Street Winery and The Pie Plate Bakery & Café as being among the best. If you’re feeling adventurous at home, try mastering Anna’s Pecan Butter Tarts. For holiday entertaining, you could even build a butter tart buffet that will entice guests to the table.

Pecan-Butter-Tarts

Despite her playful renditions, there’s one thing that Anna is old-fashioned about when it comes to making a classic Canadian butter tart. “Can you make a low fat butter tart? No way!” she says. “But you could make them miniature sized.”

Published November 14, 2016, Updated January 1, 2018

Scrumptious Pecan Butter Tart Ice Cream

If you’re looking for new and delicious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth this summer, we’ve got just the ticket. This decadent ice cream is chock-full of butter tart pieces and a luscious butter pecan swirl, all packed into a chocolate-dipped, pecan-crusted waffle cone.

Freezing the butter tart pieces and adding them after pureeing the frozen custard ensures the pieces don’t sink to the bottom of the mixture. No ice cream maker? No problem! The pan-freezing method makes this mouth-watering recipe a total cinch.

butter-tart-ice-cream1

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cool Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Serves: 8 scoops

Ingredients:
Ice Cream:
1 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups 35% cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 pecan butter tarts, chopped
8 waffle cones
3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
2 butter tarts, quartered

Butter Pecan Swirl:
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 tsp vanilla

butter-tart-ice-cream2

Directions:

Ice Cream Base:
1. Scrape seeds out of vanilla bean.
2. Add milk, cream, vanilla bean pod and seeds saucepan; bring to a boil.
3. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar and egg yolks; slowly whisk in cream mixture.
5. Return to saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
6. Strain into a clean bowl; discard vanilla bean pods.
7. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold, about 1-2 hours.
8. Pour into a 9-inch square metal baking pan; freeze until almost solid, about 1-2 hours.
9. Freeze chopped butter tarts on parchment paper-lined baking sheet until hard, about 1 hour.

Butter Pecan Swirl:
1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, cook butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt until melted, about 3 minutes.
2. Bring to a boil. Stir in pecans and vanilla; remove from heat and set aside.

Assembly:
1. Break ice cream into pieces and purée in food processor until smooth. Transfer blend into a bowl and add in frozen butter tarts.
2. Scrape into 6-cup airtight container, and then swirl in butter pecan mixture.
3. Cover and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.
4. Meanwhile, arrange pecans in a shallow bowl.
5. In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate on medium, stirring once, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Dip top rim of each waffle cone into the chocolate letting excess drip back into bowl. Immediately press chocolate edge into pecans to coat.
7. Scoop ice cream into cones and garnish each cone with a quarter butter tart.

Learn how to make the perfect butter tart pastry with these easy tips.

Pecan-Butter-Tarts

Meet Ontario’s Butter Tart Champions

Diane Rogers knows the sweet taste of victory, and it tastes like butter tarts.

The award-winning baker beat out 165 submissions, and 69 amateur and professional baker to take home the top prize for her decadent cheesecake butter tarts at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in Midland, Ont. this past weekend.

The one-day festival saw thousands of nostalgic visitors descend on the Ontario town eager to satisfy their sweet tooth on more than 100,000 of the best butter tarts in Ontario.

Pecan-Butter-Tarts

Among the thousands of pastries enjoyed on Saturday, one recipe stood above them all. Rogers’ sweet, gooey tart topped with a tangy layer of cream cheese wowed the judges so much, she took home the best in show. In fact, her bakery, Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont., snagged first, second and third prize in the professional, non-classic category.

“I knew the competition was going to be stiff this year,” said the two-time festival winner. “I was worried.”

On top of bragging rights, this year, the best in show title comes with an entry to the Canadian Food Championships in Edmonton later this summer. There, Rogers will be competing against pastry chefs from across the country to earn her tarts the title of best dessert in Canada.

“It is pretty exciting just to go to Edmonton. We are pretty pumped about that,” says Rogers. “We’re going to have to start practicing.”

While Rogers’ cream cheese tarts earned best in show, The Maid’s Cottage in Newmarket, Ont. earned top marks in the traditional professional category with their classic, gooey pecan tarts.

The top secret recipe is generations old, belonging to the great-grandmother of sisters Pam Lewis and Debbie Hill. Growing up, Lewis knew that her grandma’s butter tarts were good, but it took prodding from a local customer at The Maid’s Cottage for the sisters to enter their family recipe in the competition.

butter-tart-festival

Festival-goers snapped up more than 100,000 butter tarts on June 11.

While Lewis won’t reveal the recipe, she will admit that the key to their flaky crust is lard, along with a commitment to good quality ingredients.

“It is made with all whole ingredients and a lot of love,” says Lewis. “They are our family pride and everyone loves them.”

The Maid’s Cottage has been serving up family recipes, like their now-famous butter tarts, since their mother opened the doors in 1998. Sisters Lewis and Hill joined the growing family business, which had grown to include a bakery, known as the “Tart Pit,” where their hard working bakers are busy creating beautiful hand-crimped pastries.

“My mom is a big part of this. She is always watching over us keeping busy — a real go-getter,” says Lewis who credits her staff for the hard work leading up to the festival. “Without our team it wouldn’t be possible.”

While their classic, pecan-filled tart earned first place, Lewis isn’t a butter tart purist.

“It is not that one is better than the other, it’s what one person likes, whether it is raisins or pecans,” she says.

Home baking champion, Jane Albert usually opts for the classic tarts, but the avid Ingersoll, Ont. baker couldn’t resist her own award-winning bananas foster butter tart. Her creativity earned her three festival titles, though she insists that the best tarts start with a perfectly flaky, handmade crust.

“It really doesn’t matter how ooey or gooey the filling is, the crust is the foundation for a good tart,” she says. “And you need to have your hands in it.”

Her first time entering the competition, Albert was excited to share her 200-year-old family recipe with the scours of butter tart lovers swarming Midland, looking to satisfy their taste for nostalgia.

Midland seems to have captivated an amazing market and concept of a very nostalgic dessert,” says Albert.

Looking for sweet recipes? Check out these tasty Canadian treats.

How to Make Perfect Butter Tart Pastry

By Colleen Fisher Tully

When people steal your butter tarts off a party tray and hide them in napkins, you know you’ve got a great recipe. This is what happens when Peggy Nagle brings her tarts to a gathering, a recipe she learned from her mother-in-law, a local legend known as the “Queen of Tarts.”

Here is Nagle’s modernized method for perfect pastry—which met her mother-in-law’s approval.

You’ll need:
• 5½ cups (1.375 L) all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
• 1 lb (450 g) chilled lard, cut in chunks
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar
• plastic wrap
• rolling pin
• muffin pans

1Perfect-Butter-Tart-Pastry-005
1. Mix Just Until Dough Holds Together
In large bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour flour mixture into food processor; add lard. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pea-sized pieces.

In glass measure, using fork, beat egg with vinegar. Add enough very cold water to make 1 cup (250 mL). Drizzle into flour mixture, a bit at a time, mixing with fork until dough looks evenly moistened and holds together when gently pressed between fingers, as shown. (You might not need all of the liquid.)

 

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2. Divide, Wrap and Chill
Divide dough equally into 6 balls; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours. Prepared dough can be stored for 2 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.

 

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3. Don’t Overwork the Dough
On lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to scant ?-inch (3 mm) thickness. If dough cracks while rolling, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pliable enough to roll without breaking. The secret to flaky pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible. The more you handle it, the tougher it gets.

 

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4. Cut into Circles
Using jar lid, cookie cutter or large glass, cut circles of right size for your muffin pans.

 

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5. Fill ’Em Up
To avoid messy last-minute baking, make dough and fill muffin pans the night before, then add raisins and filling and bake right before serving. Butter tarts are best served fresh, and even better served warm.

Get the full butter tart recipe and read more about Waterloo, Ont.’s butter tart dynasty.

Waterloo County’s Most-Coveted Butter Tarts

By Peggy Nagle, as told to Jasmine Mangalaseril

When Peggy Nagle first tasted her future mother-in-law’s butter tarts, she didn’t know she would eventually become the keeper of a prized family tradition. These Waterloo County–style butter tarts are sweet and just a little gooey—popular additions to dessert tables and potlucks.

My mother-in-law, Teresa Weadick, was an amazing cook. In her day, the farming community had a lot of events where people would get together and share food: You’d roll back the rug at home for family reunions and get-togethers; all the neighbours gathered together for “presentations,” which were community showers to honour a bride and a groom; and, of course, people would have potluck dinners.

Teresa always received a lot of praise whenever she brought her butter tarts. Sometimes, people would hide one or two away to be certain they’d have one when dessert time came! I don’t know where she got her recipe, but she knew it from memory. She usually made the same type, but occasionally, she’d try something different, like adding a dab of raspberry jam to each tart before she poured the filling.

She was known as the “Queen of Tarts,” and she was really particular about them. If they were the least bit too brown, the least bit too pale or they broke as they came out, they weren’t good enough to go; those stayed home. Not many were culled, but the kids were always ready to help out with the ones that weren’t “good enough.”

The first time I had Teresa’s butter tarts was probably when I was dating her son, Rob. It was summertime. Rob and I were both at the University of Waterloo, but he was home for the summer while I was still in class because I was a co-op student. I remember thinking how amazing his mother’s tarts were. They were divine! I had made butter tarts before, but I knew these were really, really good.

I treasure the memory of Teresa teaching me how to make them. At the time, I felt it was special, but as I was so young—I was probably 21—I didn’t really realize how special. I was focused more on eating the finished product than on the learning process, or appreciating the teaching. But it was a fun activity, and I’m so glad I did it.

I worked on the tarts and served them to my mother-in-law quite a few times—she really liked them. I found the pastry difficult, and I still find the pastry difficult. It’s about balance: work it too much and they’re tough; not enough and they’re too crumbly.

Follow the jump for Peggy’s tutorial on making the perfect butter tart pastry.

What made Teresa’s butter tarts so good? I think it was the texture. They weren’t gelatinous, like store-bought ones, or dry, like some others. When you bit into hers, they had a fabulous viscosity—runny, but not too runny. Maybe the reason is how she baked them: a few minutes in a hot oven, then finished off in a moderate oven.

Our family’s tradition is to “only” eat butter tarts the day they’re made. Day-old butter tarts don’t cut it—they may as well be culls! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with day-olds, but butter tarts are best on that first day, and they’re even better when they’re still warm.

Waterloo County Butter Tarts, courtesy of Peggy Nagle

Waterloo Butter Tarts embed size

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours (includes pastry chilling time)
Yields: 18 tarts

Ingredients
Pastry
5½ cups (1.375 L) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) salt
1 lb (450 g) chilled lard, cut in chunks
1 egg
1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar

Butter Tart Filling
½ cup (125 mL) raisins, scalded and plumped
1 egg
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) corn syrup
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter or margarine
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

Directions
Pastry
1. In large bowl, combine flour and salt.
2. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger pea-size pieces. (I used to do it that way, but now I blend this mixture in my food processor. Much faster and less messy.)
3. In glass measure, using fork, beat egg with vinegar. Add enough very cold water to make 1 cup (250 mL). Drizzle into flour mixture a bit at a time, mixing with fork until dough looks evenly moistened and holds together when gently pressed between fingers. (You might not need all of the liquid.)
4. Divide dough equally into 6 balls. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours. Prepared dough can be stored for 2 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.
5. Roll dough on lightly floured surface. Using jar lid or cookie cutter or large glass, cut circles of the right size for your tart tins. If the dough cracks while rolling, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes or until pliable enough to roll without breaking. The secret to flaky pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible. The more you handle it, the tougher it gets. (Tip: Butter tarts are best fresh, even better warm, but they’re messy to make at the last minute. I like to make the dough and fill the tart tins the night before, then just add the raisins and the filling and bake right before serving.

Butter Tart Filling
1. Place raisins in bottom of pastry-filled tart tins.
2. In a bowl, beat together egg, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Spoon about 1 tbsp (15 mL) filling over raisins into each well of tart tins. (You should have enough filling for 18 tarts.)
3. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 5 minutes, then turn down to 350°F (180°C) for 15 more minutes.
4. Remove from oven; let cool. They generally slide out of the tart tins fairly well. However, the rule is that any broken ones cannot be served at a meal or to company. These culls must be given to onlookers in the kitchen who are hinting for a tasty treat (or at least that’s what Rob tells me!).

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