Last year for Canada Day long weekend, I made maple cookies and cream cheesecake squares. This year I wanted to up the ante and share something quintessentially Canadian. Of course, to be considered a truly Canadian dessert, it must have real Canadian maple syrup! The options are numerous but to keep things traditional, I decided on butter tarts.
I brought these butter tarts to a picnic with my colleagues from the hospital. We were having a friendly dessert competition where anonymous votes for the best dessert were tallied. My butter tarts won with the majority of the votes, and it was then when I promised that I would share my recipe on my food blog as: Award-Winning Butter Tarts!
Enjoy, and happy Canada Day long weekend to my Canadian readers!
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Canadian real maple syrup
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnut halves (optional)
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup golden raisins
For the pastry
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp cold lard, cubed
2 tbsp ice water
4 tsp sour cream
Make the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour with the salt. Use the dough blade to cut in the butter and lard until it resembles fine crumbs with a few larger pieces.
Whisk in the ice water with sour cream. Drizzle over the flour mixture, tossing briskly with a fork and adding more water if necessary to form a ragged dough. Press into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch round cutter to cut out 12 circles, rerolling and cutting the scraps. Fit the dough rounds into 12 muffin cups. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350oF with a rack in the middle.
Whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, eggs, vinegar and salt. Divide the walnuts (if desired), currants and raisins among the pastry shells in the muffin tin. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup filing into each shell.
Bake until the filling is set and the pastry is golden (about 20-25 minutes). Run a thin knife around the edges to release the tarts. Let cool in the muffin pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Serve immediately or store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day.