Summer always reminds me of cottages and butter tarts. Butter tarts are of Canadian origin and taste similar to pecan pie, but with runnier filling. Every individual has their own preferences about what makes a good butter tart. For me, I can’t stand raisins in mine while for others it’s essential. Pecans or walnuts and a not too runny filling for me is perfect.
This is the easiest crust to make ever. It uses shortening (lard is even better) so it doesn’t lose its shape. For pie crusts I always use butter, but it’s just not the same when making these tarts. I made minis because it was for a party. After making the mini size I found that I preferred this size better. I only end up eating half of a regular sized one anyway.
Here’s a pro tip for getting out your tarts from your muffin pans: use small strips of parchment at the bottom. All you have to do is pull the tabs.
This recipe is a mash up of 2 of Anna Olson’s butter tart recipes.
Mini butter tarts (barely adapted from Anna Olson)
Makes about 36 tarts
2 1/4 cups pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4-6 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown or demerara sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecan pieces, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Combine flour and salt and cut in shortening or lard until course and crumbly. You can use a pastry blender for this, 2 knives, or squish it between your fingers.
3. Whisk lemon juice and egg, then combine it into the dough. Don’t overmix, just mix it until it comes together.
1. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from the heat.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and slowly pour in the hot sugar mixture while whisking constantly until incorporated.
1. Flour mini muffin pan. Cut thin strips of parchment making sure the strip is long enough that it peeks out of the tin. You can always trim the strips after.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut 2.75 inch (about 7cm) rounds and line the tins. Add pecan pieces (save a few to place on top). Pour mixture into tarts until 3/4 full.
3. Bake tarts for 12-15 mins until filling sets and doesn’t (or very little) jiggle and crust slightly browns.
4. Cool for 5 mins. To remove tarts, twist them first to loosen any filling that has stuck to the tins and use the parchment strips to pull them out.
The butter tarts should be stored refrigerated but are best served at room temperature. The tarts can be stored chilled for up to 3 days.