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Butter Tarts: Why Canada Loves Them
Certain topics can seriously agitate Canadians. We get pretty riled up about the national hockey league, our high taxes (we complain, but in the end, they make Canada a great country to live in) and especially butter tarts.
You see, butter tarts are one of the few culinary delicacies Canadians can claim as its own. Since the 1700s, only Canadians have been mixing up butter, sugar and eggs and putting in pastry shells.
National pride is at stake. Mess with butter tarts and you mess with Canadian identity.
For example, a recent trend has seen the inclusion of chocolate chips in the butter tart filling. Absolute "Blasphemy!" cry the many people who prefer butter tart filling in its most basic form: no raisins, no nuts, just ooey gooey sweet buttery goodness.
Another sticking, or, "sticky," point is the runny factor: when you sink your teeth into a butter tart, is it firm or soft and oozy?
This recipe is for a slightly runny butter tart with a flaky pastry crust. Raisins or... nuts optional. No chocolate chips allowed.
Enjoy butter tarts cold or warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.
This recipe makes one dozen butter tarts.
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- 2 cups flour, All Purpose or Pastry flours are best. I find all purpose easier to handle and as long as you don't overwork turns out nice, flaky pastry. Don't use whole wheat flour.
- 1 cup shortening (you can do 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening if you prefer. I just personally don't like to do all butter for the taste of it)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup raisins (optional, or can be replaced with chopped pecans or walnuts)
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Blend the shortening, salt and the flour with a pastry cutter, or two knives, until you've created a uniform mixture that is crumbly and about the size of frozen peas.
In a separate bowl, mix 1 egg, 1 tbsp white vinegar and 2 tbsp cold water. Add to shortening and flour mixture.
Mix all ingredients together, but only until just mixed and no more.
The key to flaky pastry is not to over handle the dough.
For ease of handling, make a ball of the dough, wrap in cellophane and place in freezer for about 15 minutes.
Roll out dough onto floured surface to about the thickness of a CD case. Using either a cookie cutter or something like a jar lid, cut out circles from the dough. Press dough circles into a muffin pan.
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In another bowl, mix well corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter and egg. Add vanilla and stir in raisins.
Spoon filling into pastry shell to just below the rim.
Bake at 400 for about 10 mins until golden brown.
Makes about a dozen tarts.