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Friday, July 31, 2015

Butter Tarts - MADE IN CANADA

Butter tarts are pretty similar to mini pecan pies, but are most often made without the addition of corn syrup. It is perfectly acceptable to make them just out of butter sugar and eggs and nothing else, but many people do like them with either pecans or raisins. A chocolate butter tart, or one with another kind of nut (like walnuts) are not uncommon either, but I have never seen a butter tart with fruit on it. The butter tart is often cited as one of the few truly Canadian foods, without evolving from an American, British or French food. According to the CBC, butter tarts were probably invented in Ontario sometime around 1915. There are, however, very similar dishes to the butter tart that predate this. In addition to the American pecan pie, there is also the French-Canadian sugar pie and Scottish Ecclefechan butter tarts.

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.
Butter Tarts - A Canadian Tradition

* 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

DIRECTIONS

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.

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