Butter tarts make me happy. Maybe it’s because they aren’t readily available in the US that I have elevated them to a magical, anti-depressant art form. Or maybe it’s just because they taste so good. And I am not the only one that feels this way about butter tarts. In the 1999 song Steal My Sunshine the opening dialogue suggests that the way to cheer up Marc’s glum mood is with butter tarts!
They are Canada’s quintessential dessert. A domestic staple, definitely not an export. You only know about them if you have a Canadian friend.
I have to explain them to people in the US as a pecan tart without the pecans. But they are so much more than that.
There is an ongoing debate about what constitutes the best butter tart:
corn syrup or maple syrup? (maple syrup always)
raisins or no raisins? (raisins)
runny or firm? (runny!)
Let us know where you fall on the butter tart personality test! And tell us your favourite place to buy them. If you are in Southern Ontario, check out the Butter Tart Trail, a series of bakeries that feature butter tarts.
And finally, if you want to make them at home, I have included the recipe from the Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook—you are on your own for the pastry!
Prepare sufficient pastry to line 15 medium-sized muffin cups. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour boiling water over 1/2 cup raisins. Let stand 5 minutes and drain. Stir together 1/4 cup soft butter and 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar. Blend in 1 cup maple syrup, 2 slightly beaten eggs, 1 tsp vanilla & 1 tsp lemon juice. Stir in drained raisins. Fill pastry-lined muffin cups 1/2 full. DO NOT OVER FILL if you want runny tarts! Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry is golden.