Known around the world as a uniquely Canadian dessert, butter tarts are one of the tastiest things to come out of the True North. Nothing beats the flaky pastry filled with a perfectly sticky-sweet centre. Whether you prefer them plain, studded with raisins or turned into a cheesecake, we’ve got 26 recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Yield: 12 tarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes, plus chilling time
For the Pastry:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold butter, cubed
¼ cup cold lard, cubed (or substitute butter)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the Filling:
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
1 large, room-temperature egg
2 tablespoons very soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup currants, sultana raisins, chopped walnuts or pecan halves
1. Make the pastry: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter and lard until the mixture is in very fine crumbs. In a 1-cup measuring cup, use a small whisk or fork to combine the egg yolk, lemon juice and enough ice water to come to ⅓ cup. Gradually drizzle over the flour mixture, stirring briskly with a fork until the pastry holds together. You may need to add a little more ice water to gather up the last of the dry bits. Press into a disc, and wrap and chill until firm. Let stand at room temperature to soften a little before rolling.
2: Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, lemon juice and salt until smooth.
3. On a floured surface, roll out pastry to a ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles, rerolling scraps if necessary. Fit into muffin cups. Divide the currants among the pastry shells. Spoon the filling over the currants until three-quarters full.
4. Bake in the bottom third of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden. Let stand on a rack for a minute; immediately run a metal spatula around tarts to loosen. Carefully slide the spatula under the tarts and lift out to cool on a rack. The baker gets to eat all the tarts that break in transit, or give them as a reward to favourite people.
5. You can freeze them for a month, or store in fridge for up to a week. Warm to serve.