Admit it. We all have cravings. Mine hit me out of the blue while standing in line at my local Avondale. There, close to the checkout, was a pastry tray with a lonely little plastic-wrapped butter tart imploring me to buy it. The fact that it was half-priced was an incentive and my pesky old sweet tooth yet another one.
Once home, a cup of Yorkshire Tea ready, I bit into the moist, gooey centre. Yummy, but another bite alerted me that there was something wrong. Where were all the raisins? The paucity in this tart concerned me. Was this a new trend? I decided to make my own investigation to determine if bakers of the comely butter tart, were cheaping out on my vital ingredient.
I checked three stores’ bakery sections over the next week. It was a fact finding mission only. No buying, just an examination of butter tarts and their fillings. Pecan was everywhere, even walnut and bits of chocolate were advertised on the cellophane wrappings. Some had plain filling (horrors!), then my favourite raisin-filled ones appeared. I held a pack up to my eyes and counted two raisins. Another pack, three raisins. Now one could argue there were more, but they had settled after cooling. I wasn’t buying it, quite literally.
There was only one remedy. I would bake my own, ensuring an abundance of the tasty fruit. The first and last time I made butter tarts was during the ‘70’s. I recall the crusts turned out hard, but the filling was superb. I didn’t feel like getting in a kitchen mess to find that I still made my old “chisel crust,” so a sure thing would be to buy frozen pastry in little foil cups.
Now it was time for a recipe. The photos online were mouth-watering. It was hard to choose, but I found a recipe that included a historical introduction. Butter tarts were first made in Canada! What a wonderful discovery. I learned that pioneer women came over from France to settle in Canada, bringing along European recipes. They made do with available ingredients and voila, butter tarts were born.
I’m pleased to say my result was the decadent dessert I yearned for. They were so good that I decided to share and was rewarded by effusive compliments from friends. Fast, fun and flavourful, add these to your holiday baking list.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a sweet bite!”
My Canadian Buttertarts
- 12 pre-made frozen tart shells
- ¼ cup butter (melted, cooled)
- ½ cup golden brown sugar (lightly packed)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1 large egg (slightly beaten)
- ¾ cup of raisins
- 1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
Mix butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt and egg. Stir to combine.
Place the raisins in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let them sit for 10 minutes. Drain well. Immediately add hot raisins to the butter mixture. Stir well.
Pour filling into thawed (10 minutes) tart shells on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F (200C). Reduce heat to 350F (180C) and continue baking 10-15 minutes until they start to brown. Move to a wire rack to cool.
Just tried these and they are so tasty!! Merry Christmas
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