10 July 2010

Mmm...Canada: Maple pecan butter tarts

A quick business trip north of the border brought our dear Glamah of Coco Cooks to my fair land. I knew through years of bloggy (and now more often than not non-bloggy) conversation, she's a kindred kitchen spirit, willing to try pretty much anything at least once.

In real life she didn't disappoint. She sparkles...and not in a contrived Meyeresque way...she's stylish, astute, sharp-tongued and sharp-witted. And here's the kicker...she's even more beautiful in real life than she is in her photos. Yes. Really.

When foodbloggers gather, kitchen-themed gifts are offered (whether we expect them or not). She brought me the most amazing Garrett's Chicago mix popcorn (who knew cheese and caramel would be so addictive). My gift to her? A selection of a Canadian staple: home-made butter tarts: traditional raisin, maple walnut and chocolate.

Notice how I write "traditional raisin?" Well...them's fighting words up here. The pro-raisin and the anti-raisin tribes have been hurling insults at one another for a while, each claiming their version superior to the other. I'm with Team Raisin.

That is...I would be with Team Raisin if I could eat them. I can't--I find them migraine-inducingly sweet. But, according to various afficionados around here, I make a mighty fine butter tart. So fine, in fact, I've been known to use them instead of currency: it's amazing how many extra hands are lent when butter tarts are mentioned in passing.

A basic butter tart is a rich shortcrust pastry shell filled with a (raisined) thick buttery-sweet filling, akin to what swathes pecans in pecan pie. There are many types of fillings available--nuts, fruit, peanut butter...They are incredibly easy to make--like other tarts, you can just buy frozen pastry shells if you need to, but really...pastry-making skills are easy enough to acquire...

The filling is forgiving, just keep in mind to not fill each shell more than half, for fear of that sticky, buttery sweetness overflowing its pastry bounds. You can make them in tartlette tins, but all the homemade ones I've been offered and the ones I've bought from local Mennonites have been formed in muffin tins, which I think add to their allure.

Maple Pecan Butter tarts
Adapted From Edna Staebler's Butter Tart Recipe in Food That Really Schmecks
Yield 12

For the pastry:

350g (2.5c) ap flour
125g (0.5c) cold butter (frozen, preferred)
a few tablespoons


For the filling
250g (2.25c) brown sugar
60ml (0.25c) maple syrup
30g (2Tbsp) butter, melted
1 beaten egg
1.5 Tbsp water
a pinch of salt
100g (1c) pecan pieces

Grate butter into the flour and with the tips of your fingers, rub the mixutre until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cream to moisten the mixture so it forms a cohesive dough. Form a disc and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

While the dough is cooling, beat together all the filling ingredients, except the nuts, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 220C/450F.

Roll the pastry to about 0.3-0.5cm (aprox 1/8"-1/4") thickness. Scry circles large enough to fit the bowls of a 12-bowl muffin tin. Divide the nuts between the bowls and cover with enough

filling to reach the half-full level of each tart. Don't go much beyond this as the filling will expand and overflow. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the shells are baked and the filling is set.



I'm a quill for hire!

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Sweet Kitchen said...

Definitely raisins. No question!

Brilynn said...

I would love a good buttertart right now, it's such a taste of home!

Elle said...

I can see why these would be accepted instead of money...looks lucious! Guess we would have to try raisin and non-raisin versions, but I suspect that with raisins is better. Not so sure about adding peanut butter....

Mickle in NZ said...

Yummy - and those like me who don't like pecans and shouldn't eat nuts anyway can just leave them out. I even have some real Canadian Maple Syrup in my fridge!

Super thanks Jasmine

glamah16 said...

Lord! I ma blushing. Those tarts were damn good and I will take them anyway. Traditional or not. Great bartering tool!

s said...

ooh what fun...yum!