A classic Canadian sweet, butter tarts are small pastries filled with egg, sugar, maple syrup, also a Canadian classic, and toasted pecans and baked in a rich butter crust. While this recipe uses the pecans, walnuts or raisins or even flaked coconut can be used.
I've joined my travel companions near the end of our travel to Edmonton, Canada. Edmonton, the capital of Alberta Canada, is the fifth stop in our World Culinary ABC, created by Eloisa of Trattoria MuVarA. Our travels to Samoa, India, Australia and Dakar leave us with lovely culinary memories and insights into food traditions in other parts of the world.
These butter tarts are reminiscent of the quintessential pecan pie we in Georgia and other Southern states enjoy so much. Pecans are readily available during the Fall and Winter months in Georgia where I live, hence the plethora of nut recipes for the holidays.
Pecan Butter Tarts
Enough for a 2 crust pie or twelve standard muffin size tarts
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecan pieces
Directions for Dough
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse briefly to mix. Add the small pieces of butter and pulse until just small pieces of butter are visible. Add the ice cold water and lemon juice. Pulse until dough just comes together.
Preheat oven to 400° F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Remove dough from processor and shape into 2 disks. Wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to use, shape into 2 logs. Cut each log into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 4-1/2-inch round about 1/4-inch thick. Line each muffin cup with the pastry so that it comes about 1/2-inch higher than the muffin tin. Chill the muffin tin while preparing the filling.
For the Filling
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, coffee liqueur and salt. Slowly pour in the hot sugar mixture while whisking constantly until combined. Remove the muffin tin from the refrigerator. Sprinkle a few of the pecan pieces into the bottom of each tart shell and ladle the filling into each pastry shell.
Bake the tarts for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is browned. Cool the tarts in the tin for about 5 minutes, then carefully twist them around in the pan so they won't stick. Cool completely in the pan.
Store refrigerated, but are best at room temperature. The tarts can be store chilled for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Makes 12.
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