Butter Tarts

During the Christmas holidays, I was fortunate enough to come across the most amazing butter tart in existence, from the Sweet Oven, in Barrie Ontario. It had everything I look for in a butter tart - sticky on top, gooey in the middle, super sweet, and the perfect crust to filling ratio. I am super picky about my butter tarts, as are most Canadians, and this one really lived up to my expectations. After I tried this butter tart, I was convinced that this was going to be the new cupcake.  Eager to jump on the entrepreneurial band wagon, I started experimenting with different recipes. So far, I have made two batches this weekend, and unfortunately, I wasn't quite fond of either. I think it's because my expectations are now to high from my Sweet Oven experience.  I have decided to give up my butter tart career, and stick to blogging. It is much more forgiving on the hips.

inspired by Erica's Edibles

1/2 cup (1 stick) of salted butter, cold
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt

Cut butter into small cubes and chill in the freezer until ready to use. You want the butter to be super cold so you can see the pieces in your pastry when mixed.  When baking, the butter will melt creating tiny pockets in the dough, while the steam will lift the pockets to create flakes.

Mix the sugar and flour in a large bowl.  Mix the frozen chunks of butter into the flour and sugar mixture, making sure you don't over mix.  This can be done with a hand-held pastry blender or pulsed in a food processor.  When the butter cubes are the size of tiny peas, stop mixing.

Gently whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then add to mixture.  Gently fold the ingredients until the dough comes together, and then knead into a ball.  You do not want to over knead, or you will flatten the butter which will lead to a less flaky pastry. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out flat. With a round cookie cutter or the bottom of a glass, cut out small circle shapes. Place the dough rounds into tiny pie tins or a muffin pan. With your fingers, form the dough to the wells. Place the tray into the fridge to stay cool.

Mix butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup with a hand mixed until butter is whipped.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt to the mixture and beat until blended.

Fill the pastry shells 3/4 full.  Bake in oven at 400 ºF for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven a let cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan.  I prefer to eat my butter tarts cold.