Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the world has been closed off to travel. For myself, an avid traveller and someone who works in travel, this is an incredibly difficult and stressful time. But, I know I’m not alone.
So, I’m starting this new mini-series here on Eat Sleep Breathe Travel under the theme ‘Travel From Home’. The plan is to share fun ideas along with recipes inspired by countries and locations that readers and followers can make from home while we are under quarantine, isolation, and lockdown. Cooking and baking are, for many of us, therapeutic activities and a fun distraction. Plus, who doesn’t love food?
To kick this off, I’m sharing a recipe for a classic Canadian dessert: The Butter Tart.
So, what the heck is a butter tart?
No, it’s not a tart filled with butter.
A butter tart is a tart with a gooey filling made with a mixture that includes butter, brown sugar, and egg. Almost like a pecan pie. You can also add different flavourings and bits to your filling, which I will discuss later.
There is a bit of debate around butter tarts. Some people want the centres to be gooey and runny. Other’ find that too messy and like it firmer. How firm the centre is will depend on how long you bake it for. Again, I’ll talk about that a bit more in the recipe section.
Here’s how to make Canadian Butter Tarts
Canadian Butter Tart Recipe
You Will Need
- Pie dough (you can make your own favourite recipe, or buy the premade raw pastry)
For the Filling (enough for 12 butter tarts)
- 3/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon of whipping cream
*Typically, you will use 1 tsp of vanilla extract. However, since this is a Canadian recipe and I am very Canadian, I like to use pure maple syrup instead. I use about 1 tablespoon of maple syrup because the flavour isn’t quite as strong as it is in an extract. You can also be a bit creative here and use flavoured (ie: Rum or bourbon) vanilla.
- pre-heat your oven to 375F
- Roll out the pastry dough. Don’t roll it too thick though because the best part of the Canadian butter tart is the filling, not the crust.
- Cut out circles big enough to fit and fill into a muffin tray. If you have a circular cookie cutter, that will work. If not, you can use a glass or even a mug to get the circles (that’s what I do). If the circles aren’t quite big enough for your tray, roll them out a little more with your rolling pin until they are the right size. Remember, keep the dough thin!
- Fit the circles into the tin, you’ll want the dough to come up to the edge of the tins to hold the liquid filling mixture. Place in fridge until ready to fill. (I do use a non-stick cooking spray on my pans, but most pie doughs are buttery and don’t tend to stick so you don’t need to)
- Melt butter and brown sugar on low heat over the stove. Once combined, take off the heat and add the cream and flavouring. Wait until it cools to room temperature, then mix in the egg.
- Decide if you want to add anything to your butter tarts. You can leave them plain or you can add nuts (pecans are my favourite), chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, etc. Some people add raisins. Just don’t. It’s wrong. If you do decide you want to add something to your tarts, place them at the bottom of the dough cups before you pour the filling on top.
- Pour your filling into the dough cups. Fill them up- they will bubble a little but they won’t explode and overflow. This recipe makes enough filling to fill 12 normal size tarts.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. The tops should look a little crusted over (but still be wobbly when you touch the tray) and the crust should be golden brown. Now, if you like gooey butter tarts, you’ll want to reduce this cooking time. But, you still want to cook the crusts. So, before you add the filling, pop the crusts in the oven for about 5 minutes, then fill them up and put them in again right away for about 10 minutes. Then the crust is still baked but the centre (filling) isn’t as firm.
- Remove from tray, cool, and enjoy!
Butter tarts are very sweet, but if you like deserts they are delicious. Plus, they are really simple to make and don’t require many ingredients.
If you decide to make these, let me know what you think!