Sunday, 30 August 2009

Canadian butter tarts

I’ve seen differing recipes for these tarts, some of which include coconut. Now I love coconut but it didn’t seem quite right with the other ingredients so I asked my Authority-On-All-Things-Canadian, Soo, what she thought and she stated that her mother never put coconut in to her butter tarts. So that was good enough for me.

These little tarts are very rich and very delicious. Buttery, short pastry filled with raisins, nuts and sticky caramel. I used walnuts and these worked well as they provide contrast in both texture and taste to the softer, sweeter, gooier components.

My quantities below made 24 individual tarts (using a shallow cupcake pan). I see no reason at all why you couldn’t halve the quantities if you only wanted 12.

I find pastry inexplicably beautiful, particularly when it’s rolled out and the cutter has worked its magic; it's the food equivalent of Christmas Eve - everything is about to happen:

Tell me it isn’t just me who finds this photo cute?


For the pastry:
230g plain flour
160g unsalted butter, cold
4 tablespoons icing sugar
2 egg yolks

For the filling:
4 eggs
350g light muscovado sugar
200g raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 tablespoons single cream
100g chopped walnuts

How to make

- Start by making the pastry: place all the ingredients except the egg yolks into a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs.

- Add the egg yolk and blitz again until a golden, buttery pastry starts to form.

- Tip out onto a sheet of clingfilm and bring to a ball of dough. You may need to add a tiny bit more flour to achieve this.

- Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

- Grease two cupcake trays i.e. 24 holes, with butter.

- Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm and use an appropriate size round cutter to line the patty tins. The pastry is good natured and will re-roll as many times as you need.

- Now make the filling: lightly beat the eggs and put into a saucepan with all the other ingredients except the chopped walnuts.

- Stir over a medium heat until the butter and sugar have melted. The mixture will bubble and thicken – stir all the time to avoid it burning.

- As soon as the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts.

- Spoon the filling into the pastry cases making sure you get a good mix of raisins and nuts in each – fill the pastry cases to the top as the mixture does not expand on cooking. I found that I had some liquid left over – possibly I should have cooked it for longer and reduced it more.

- Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until the caramel is an even deep golden colour. Mine took exactly 18 minutes.

- Leave to cool in the trays until you can handle them to turn them out.

- Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

- Serve warm with cream or ice cream or at room temperature with a cup of tea

- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Soo said...

Hurrah - those look like butter tarts my mom would be proud of!

Cakelaw said...

I've often wanted to try making these - haven't gotten around to it yet.

Joy said...

They look prefect. Yum!