Tag Archives: pastry

butter tarts, again!

The last time we posted about butter tarts, we had a lot less readers. So in fairness to those of you who haven’t been following us from the beginning, we are re-posting our butter tart recipe! We just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving and I made 4 dozen tarts to bring to our family potluck so butter tarts are on my mind. Here is the post from 12/2/2015.

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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 and 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.

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try this tourtiere

Spoiler alert – this is another pastry recipe. If you aren’t up for making it from scratch, you can definitely buy it premade and get right to the good stuff.

I’ve been working to perfect pastry with a friend. We started with sweet apple pie – read about it here. And this week we switched to savoury.

Tourtiere is a classic French Canadian meat pie that’s typically served during Christmas/New Year celebrations. Tucked between delicious layers of pastry is a combination of ground pork and special seasoning. Our version (not completely authentic) included mushrooms, onion, savoury, cinnamon, cloves and garlic.

With two batches of pastry and a bucket load of savoury deliciousness, we rolled, stuffed, crinkled and decorated a selection of sizes. And after a couple hours of flour flying and lattes guzzled, we had created this.

Jo’s Tourtiere

Saute 2 lb. ground pork in 1 T oil. Drain off fat. Stir in 3 chopped onions, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 cups sliced mushroom, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 tsp each of salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and savory (add more seasoning for more intense flavour).

Bring to boil and simmer, uncovered for one hour until fragrant and liquid is reduced. Stir in 1 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning, cover and refrigerate.

Pack filling into pastry-lined pie pan, top with more pastry and seal edges together (see our finishing edges in the pictures). Brush with mixture of one beaten egg and 1 tsp water. Cut steam vents in top.

Bake @375F for 45 minutes until golden. Serves 10

CJR