PREP TIME 25 mins | COOK TIME 17 mins | TOTAL TIME 42 mins | SERVES 12
I recently learned a Big Truth about our beautiful country. We are divided. These two solitudes have nothing to do with language or hockey or even Nickleback. It’s all about raisins, specifically butter tarts with raisins.
Raisins in butter tarts don’t bother me, but when I asked the question on my Facebook page – innocently enough — and it cause a frenzy. Some people really, really hate raisins. They called raisins in butter tarts “an abomination”, “tears of the devil”, even “foreign interlopers”. Others said without raisins it’s just not a butter tart. I had best friends fighting and husbands and wives threatening divorce over this issue.
I hate this kind of conflict! Friends, if you like raisins, add them. If not, don’t. Personally, I ate through several batches — raisiny and not — of these beauties and loved them all.
These are sweet but smoky from the maple syrup and nicely runny. If you are like me and adore a little salt on sweet things, sprinkle the tarts with a pinch of Maldon just as they come out of the oven.
(notice how I still didn’t tell you which side of the debate I’m on…?)
Maple Butter Tarts
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water
⅔ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup raisins (optional)
To make the pastry, combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter then, using your fingertips, rub and squeeze the butter pieces until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in the water and mix until it makes a dough, adding more water (1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Roll the pastry on a lightly-floured counter into a 12-in. circle. Use a 4-in round cookie cutter to cut out 12 circles (re-roll the pastry scraps as necessary). Transfer pastry circles into a 12-hole muffin tin. Chill until ready to fill.
Whisk the brown sugar, maple syrup, egg and melted butter in a medium bowl. Divide raisins evenly among prepared cups, or just shake your fist in rage at raisin-lovers. Divide filling evenly between cups. Bake 10 min then reduce the oven to 375F. Bake another 7 to 12 min or until pastry is light golden, tarts are dark golden and still a bit jiggly. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 min. Carefully easy tarts out of the pan and onto a rack to cool completely.
TIP: Most butter tarts use corn syrup, but there are a Canadian classic, so I use maple syrup. It makes them a little runnier than usual (which I think is a good thing). If you are going for raisins, soak them in a little bit of hot water (or hot brandy!) for about 10 min. Drain then use.
Click below for a printable version of this recipe.