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Butter Tarts – The Controversy Rages On!

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Posted on: February 11, 2018
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Butter tarts, the quintessential Canadian treat, have a history of controversy.

What? You ask.

How can that be? You question.

After all, Canadians are peace-loving and polite to a fault. (Unless, of course, we’re talking about hockey – then all bets are off!)

How on earth can there be controversy over such a national treasure? The ooey, gooey sweetness of this perfect pastry treat is loved by all, surely.

Well, all you need to do, to ignite a never-ending debate, is to ask one simple question. Raisins or no raisins? And opposing factions start lining up to to champion their preference.

It’s an ages-old battle with no specific beginning and, from the looks of things, no end is likely, either.

In Ontario, there’s a Butter Tart Tour.

Each June, in Midland, Ontario, there’s a Butter Tart Festival.

But that’s not all! A simple Google search for “Butter Tart Festival” will present you with more options.

There are, most likely, as many different recipes for this confection as there are festivals.

So that you can make your own, below is my favorite Butter Tart recipe. And, in true Canadian fashion, the recipe includes raisins but make them optional.

Ahh, compromise.

The recipe comes from my book How to Make Perfect Pastry.

So, what do you think?

Raisins? No raisins?

This is my favorite recipe for gooey, dribble-down-your-chin butter tarts.

 

AuthorVicky WellsCategory

Yields12 Servings
Ingredients
 Enough pastry for one dozen tart shells
 ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
 2 tablespoons (30 mL) heavy cream (you can substitute 10% cream or even evaporated milk, in a pinch
 ½ cup (75g) raisins (optional)
 1 large egg, beaten
 1 teaspoon (5 mL) real vanilla extract (don’t substitute artificial vanilla)
Method
1

In a medium bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar. (All this means is to work the brown sugar into the softened butter with a fork until they are well combined.)

2

Add all the other filling ingredients and mix well.

3

Spoon the mixture into unbaked tart shells, filling each one no more than half full. The filling will bubble up during baking.

4

Bake in a hot oven - 450°F (230°C, Gas Mark 8) - for 8 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F (175°C, Gas Mark 4) and bake until the pastry is nicely browned. Ovens vary in temperature but I’ve found that it will take about 20 to 25 minutes total for the pastry to brown nicely. But keep a close eye on them after the first 15 minutes or so.

5

Allow tarts to cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes to allow the filling to set slightly. They will then be easier to remove from the baking tin. When you remove them from the baking pan, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

6

Warning: Don’t be tempted to try these tarts right out of the oven. The sugar mixture will be very, very hot and you will burn yourself.

 

Ingredients

Ingredients
 Enough pastry for one dozen tart shells
 ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
 2 tablespoons (30 mL) heavy cream (you can substitute 10% cream or even evaporated milk, in a pinch
 ½ cup (75g) raisins (optional)
 1 large egg, beaten
 1 teaspoon (5 mL) real vanilla extract (don’t substitute artificial vanilla)

Directions

Method
1

In a medium bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar. (All this means is to work the brown sugar into the softened butter with a fork until they are well combined.)

2

Add all the other filling ingredients and mix well.

3

Spoon the mixture into unbaked tart shells, filling each one no more than half full. The filling will bubble up during baking.

4

Bake in a hot oven - 450°F (230°C, Gas Mark 8) - for 8 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F (175°C, Gas Mark 4) and bake until the pastry is nicely browned. Ovens vary in temperature but I’ve found that it will take about 20 to 25 minutes total for the pastry to brown nicely. But keep a close eye on them after the first 15 minutes or so.

5

Allow tarts to cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes to allow the filling to set slightly. They will then be easier to remove from the baking tin. When you remove them from the baking pan, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

6

Warning: Don’t be tempted to try these tarts right out of the oven. The sugar mixture will be very, very hot and you will burn yourself.

Butter Tarts

 

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