Butter tarts were a staple of pioneer cooking in Canada, a favourite sweet of Sir John A. Macdonald's, and are one of the few recipes considered to be genuinely Canadian. There is a great deal of debate over the origins of the butter tart and whether a butter tart should be firm or runny; contain raisins, currants, or none. For more on this debate see the late Peter Gzowski's Morningside interview on butter tarts
The following recipe is from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook
and consists of a few variations of the butter tart:Gooey Butter Tarts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup currants, raisins, chopped pecans or shredded coconut (optional)
While dough chills, in bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt for filling. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out 12 circles using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, re-rolling scraps if necessary. Press into standard 12-cup muffin pan.
Divide currants, raisins, pecans or coconut evenly among shells, if using. Spoon in filling until 3/4 full.
Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes or until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden. Let pan stand on rack 1 minute., Run metal spatula around tarts to loosen; carefully slide spatula under tarts and transfer to rack to cool. Makes 12.Pastry
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vinegar
In large bowl, combine flour with salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter and shortening until mixture is in fine crumbs.
In separate bowl, whisk egg yolk and vinegar. Add enough ice water to make 1/3 cup liquid. Sprinkle over flour mixture, stirring briskly with fork until pastry holds together. Gather dough; press into disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until chilled.VariationsDrizzled Gooey Butter Tarts:
Drizzle cooled tarts with 2 ounces semisweet or white chocolate, melted.Not-So-Gooey Butter Tarts:
In filling, increase brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decrease corn syrup to 1/4 cup.Chocolate Butter Tarts:
In pastry, reduce flour to 11/4 cups and sift into bowl with 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. In filling, place small chunks of bittersweet chocolate in bottom of pastry shells instead of currants, raisins, pecans or coconut.Expat Talkback
Raisins or no raisins?
Gooey or not?