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“Back in the 1970’s there was a national contest held in Canada to determine who had the best buttertarts, this recipe is the winner, originating from Wilkie’s Bakery in Orilla, Ontario.” -Back of the Cupboard
From the title I’m sure you could guess that I’ve already tried making butter tarts. I really thought they were delicious! They had a flaky crust and a sweet filling. I’ll admit, though, that I was never a huge fan of butter tarts as a kid (I’m a bad Canadian) so perhaps I didn’t have much to compare mine to. Thankfully my next door neighbor is a butter tart expert (he rates them all over the province, I kid you not!). I had him try one from my first batch (rookie mistake!) and he gave it a 4/10. a FOUR! Well, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge so I decided to try them again, and with an award winning recipe, no less. I think it’s safe to say that these butter tarts are 100X better than the last batch! Phew! I even added some pecans to a couple which I thought was an excellent idea, though the plain tarts were favoured in the end. I haven’t received a formal rating yet but fingers crossed these get at least a 6 or 7!
UPDATE – I received a 9.2 out of 10 for these butter tarts!!
Here is my neighbor’s official review:
“Rebecca!! I have one word for you…..STUPENDOUS”
and moments later…
“Now for a more detailed email…..I love the texture of the crust (light and flaky) and I love the filling (not runny and not overpoweringly sweet). All in all, an excellent tart. If u have any leftovers I will be over in a flash.”
The moral here: try, try again.
Butter Tarts Recipe
Crust (by Simply Recipes)
What You Need
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold
What You Need to Do
1 Freeze the butter in cubes at least 15 minutes, better an hour, best overnight.
2 Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.
3 Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.
4 Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called “fraisage”. Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky. Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (At this point you can freeze the dough disk for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
5 When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
Filling (by Back of the Cupboard)
What You Need
- pie pastry
- 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
What You Need to Do
- Prepare muffin pans by rolling out pie dough and cutting 4-inch (approx) circles; ease dough circles into ungreased muffin cups; set aside in fridge until ready to fill.
- In a small bowl, place raisins and cover with hot tap water; let stand on the counter for 30 minutes.
- 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.
- Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
- Drain raisins.
- Retrieve tart shells and divide raisins equally into all shells; then divide butter mixture into all tarts. Don’t fill tarts all the way to the very top, as the filling bubbles up quite a bit, and will get everywhere
- Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes; filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling.
- If you prefer a firmer filling, baked for the full 20 minutes.
- Let cooked butter tarts cool in pans for 10 minutes after removing from oven; then carefully remove and place on racks until completely cool.