Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Canadian Treat

Seeing as how the British tend to love their pies and tarts, I always assumed that Butter Tarts, one of my favorite treats, were a delicacy that originated in England. Their scarcity in the States had me convinced that they weren't American (although a cousin of the butter tart, pecan pie, is my favorite "southern" dessert).

So you can imagine my disappointment when after entering multiple pastry shops in London this week, there was not a single butter tart to be found! It turns out that these heavenly tarts are a uniquely Canadian food. The good news about this, is that now when I get into conversations with my friends about foods that are unique to our particular countries, I don't have to say "poutine, and that's pretty much it" any more. Now I can say "poutine and BUTTER TARTS!"

The other bit of good news to come out of this story is that although my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook is conspicuously missing a butter tarts recipe, there is a recipe in The Best of The Best of Bridge cookbook that my mom gave me. Now all I need is a pound of brown sugar...


Leslie Jane Moran said...

These are from my friend Lennie. Can't get more Canadian than this!
Bon Appetite! Maman

Butter tarts are a Canadian tradition. Waaaay back in the 1970s, a national contest here in Canada concluded that these butter tarts, originating from Wilkie's Bakery in Orillia, Ontario, were the best. I certainly think so and it's the only recipe I use. Add a sprinkle of toasted walnuts when you add the raisins, if you wish, or use only walnuts if you don't like raisins.


* pie pastry (enough to fill 16 muffin cups, your own or from a mix)
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/4 cup soft butter
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/2 cup corn syrup
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Prepare muffin pans by rolling out pie dough and cutting 4-inch (approx) circles; fit dough circles into muffin cups; set aside in fridge until ready to fill.

2. In a small bowl, place raisins and cover with hot tap water; let stand on the counter for 30 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the soft butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup; stir well until sugar is dissolved and butter is creamed.

4. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

5. Drain raisins.

6. Retrieve tart shells and divide raisins equally into all shells; then divide butter mixture into all tarts.

7. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes; filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling.

8. Canadians fall into two camps about butter tarts and are quite loyal to their favourite type: runny or firm.

9. I like runny-- the type that dribbles when you bite into one; if you like firm, bake them for the full 20 minutes, even adding another minute or two if you wish.

10. Let cooked butter tarts cool in pans for 10 minutes after removing from oven; then remove and place on racks until completely cool.

Jane said...

Thanks mom, this is great! Michael is threatening to make them on his own, but I'm certain that I'll beat him to it (once he buys me some muffin cups...)