Butter Tarts

That one that's second in from the left, on the bottom? That's the only one you should look at.

That one that's second in from the left, on the bottom? That's the only one you should look at.

We live next door to Canada – you can be in St. George in a couple hours from here – so we’re familiar with their cuisine.  Poutine, KD, Tim Horton’s (all of which I can do without) and those jewels in the crown – butter tarts. I’ve had them from bakeries and been reasonably fond of these bite-sized pecan pies-with-benefits, but then Bethany’s Canadian fiance Ben brought a homemade one for me to try. That was it, I fell in love. Ben is very nice, too.

I’ve made them several times since then and taken a few shortcuts on a recipe that I took parts of from several different websites and library books, mostly The Best of Bridge – Royal Treats for Entertaining by Halpen Brimacombe, who probably went to Hogwarts.The recipe below is how I like them – with toasted pecans and raisins – but they are often found in their minimalist state, with simply the pastry crust and the filling.

Butter Tarts

Pate Brisee: 1 1/4 C flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbs sugar, 1/2 C unsalted butter, chilled, 1/4 C ice water. Make the pastry crust in the usual way in a food processor. Dump the dough out on to wax paper and form a log about 3″ diameter, set aside in a cool place. Don’t wash out the food processor.

Toast 1/2 C pecans, chop fine in the food processor and set aside in a bowl. Soften 1/2 C raisins in lemonade, set aside.

Filling: To the (empty, but unwashed) food processor, add 1/3 C unsalted butter cut into 1″ pieces, 1 C brown sugar and mix to a paste, add 2 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla and mix briefly. Add 1/4 C light cream or half and half, mix.  Leave the filling in the food processor for now.

Go back to the log of pastry and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 4″ diameter circle. This dough is probably sticky when warm, but it’s only warm in my kitchen on August afternoons when I’m not inside rolling out pastry dough. Be forewarned and use a considerable amount of flour. Lay the dough into a 12 well muffin tin and add the pecans and raisins. Mix the filling one more time for about 5 seconds in the food processor, then pour over the nuts and raisins to fill each cup.

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is set. Allow to cool to fully set and eat at least one standing over the sink.

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