Friday, March 11, 2011

Maple butter tarts

I missed making pancakes on Tuesday as I do every year, but I've got all your my favourite pancake toppings in a tart shell. Butter tarts are a Canadian staple, or at least an Ontario one. They are available in every convenience store, grocery store and bakery. The best are homemade, of course, and everyone loves the ones they are used to. The ones I like best are from a great little sandwich shop in Toronto. The only problem is that they are huge! I made mine a bit daintier so you can have 2.
Butter tart recipes usually call for corn syrup, but I'm not a fan, so I replaced it with maple syrup. The result was gooey but not runny tarts. Golden syrup would be another great substitute for corn syrup. Most butter tarts have raisins in them, but there was no chance of that happening over here. I love them plain, and also with nuts or wild blueberries. I made all kinds for you. Well, for me, but you know what I mean. So what do butter tarts taste like? Deliciously sweet, and a bit like pecan pie without the pecans.
This is my kind of research
Another great thing about butter tarts is that they are very easy to make. You use a homemade flaky pastry and the filling can be made in single bowl with a wooden spoon. You can even use pre-made tartlet shells. Just don't tell me if you do. 
The wild blueberry version
Yup, they're good

Makes 12--2.5" tarts

Butter pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
½ teaspoons salt
3-7 tablespoons ice water
  1. Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the largest pieces are the size of peas and some pieces are tiny.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of water and pulse again. Squeeze a handful of the crumbs together to see if it holds. If not, add the water in small increments. You do not want the dough to come together in a ball in the processor. Once the dough holds together without too much effort, flatten it into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for a few hours.
  3. Let dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes, then roll on a lightly floured surface to ¹⁄₈" thickness. Cut circles using a 4.5" round cutter. Place in standard (½) cup muffin tin. Chill for 30 minutes.
Maple butter filling:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup maple syrup (medium/amber), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup small wild blueberries, nuts, raisins (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400℉ and place a rack in lower third of oven. Cream butter and brown sugar and add egg. Mix well, then add syrup, vanilla, salt and lemon juice and combine.
  2. If you are using any nuts, raisins or berries, add a few to each pastry shell. You only want enough to barely cover the bottom of the shell. Add syrup mixture, filling only ¾ full. Don't be tempted to fill them to the top, as they'll bubble over and you'll never get them out of the pan.
  3. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until filling is bubbly and puffy and pastry is golden. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around each tart and carefully remove. You must remove them when they are warm, or else they will weld themselves to the pan. Cool and enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature.
Macadamia nuts are amazing in these


Anonymous said...

Ooh! The wild blueberry and macadamia nut versions look delicious!

tasteofbeirut said...

This looks like such a delightful sweet pastry! I have been reading on the benefits of maple syrup so I am al for using it now!

Valerie said...

For as much as I love pecans, the best part of a pecan pie is always the way the sweet, gooey filling oozes into the buttery crust as it bakes!
I must try these!! :D

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I'll love a Macadamia nut one, please! They all look great, thanks for sharing with us!

A Canadian Foodie said...

This is definitely a Canadian phenomena! I love my grandmother's recipe with currants.
Actually, I love them all - and your Maple Syrup idea is downright brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, my mouth is watering! I made some recently (no corn syrup in my recipe) and they were a huge hit. Like the idea of adding maple syrup (and blueberries).

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

These look incredibly delicious! I love the colour which is golden/treacly.

Elaine said...

I love tarts of any kind and these look incredibly good! I really like that you subbed maple syrup for the corn syrup. The wild blueberry tart is mouthwatering!

A little bit of everything said...

i've never had these kind of cups. love the blueberry ones. i have some berries in the fridge, can't wait to make some cups and enjoy them. thanks for sharing

Medifast Coupon Code 2011 said...

Oh yeah this is a great idea for butter tarts. Can't wait to try your recipe with the maple syrup. You can't get anymore Canadian than maple syrup, which should be running shortly too I would think. Thanks for the recipe to try.

Mimi said...

I love that they are mini and that I can have 2.

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

Mary these truly look delicious! I have my grandmas recipe for pecan butter tarts... and I have the itch to make them now!! The wild blueberry sound yummy too!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

I have bought these a million times at the grocery store but never had a homemade one, I bet there is no comparison with yours. Love the macadamia ones

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary! thanks for popping by. You know, I have lived in Canada for almost 8 years now and have NEVER tried a butter tart!!

Valérie said...

These look so decadently delicious! Truly impressive... and this is from someone who's never had a butter tart! I must have one!

Beth said...

I love butter tarts! Please tell me which shop in Toronto you buy them at -- I'd love to try them out!

Bizzy said...

You are smart to sub the maple syrup and I bet it tastes better with the added flavor.