Sunday, April 12, 2009

Butter Tarts

When I was I high school I worked some summers for the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where the musical Anne of Green Gables was staged. One year I worked front-of-house as well as in the Centre’s charming little Courtyard CafĂ©.

It was exciting for my 16-year-old self to wait on the singers and dancers (so glamourous!), and to meet the many tourists from the States and beyond, but I think that the real pleasure of working at the Courtyard Cafe was befriending its pastry chef.

Far and away the most desirable dessert we offered was the butter tart, a rustic pastry crust filled with a brown sugar/vanilla/raisin mixture. I never liked raisins before that summer, but they became, when nestled in a butter tart, a delight.

Here’s a recipe that I hand-wrote into my old (circa 1980s) Silver Palate cookbook. I know that it comes from Canada, so it’s the real deal; I just can’t remember its provenance.



2 c. white flour
¾ tsp salt
1 c. or 250 ml Crisco Shortening
4 tbsp water


½ c. lightly packed brown sugar
½ c. corn syrup
¼ c. or 50 ml Golden Crisco
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
¾ c raisins


Follow pastry recipe on package(!).
Put pastry in muffin cups.
Fill shells with raisins (cover bottom).
Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.
Don’t overbake!


K.Line said...

OK, you've convinced me. How long do they have to cool. Oven being occupied till dinner by a chicken. Can I get it all together and then pop em in when dinner starts?

miss cavendish said...

Well, they dooo need to cool. But I always cheat and pop them in the fridge! I'm sure I'm breaking some important rule de cuisine there, but I'm an impatient person!

Making an apple/strawberry crisp myself, with homemade lasagne and sauce.

K.Line said...

Oh, that sounds delish. We're having roast chicken with potatoes, onion, carrot. Tomatoes and feta. The butter tarts (how quickly you won me over... I didn't know till today that these are CDN!)

It also appears that we are having some people over (found out at 3) so thank goodness I bought some raw cheese at the fancy place yesterday.

drollgirl said...

YUM!!!!!!!!!! sounds divine!!!

materfamilias said...

Haven't made butter tarts forever and ever, but I don't think I can resist this recipe. Mmmmmm, in anticipation.

K.Line said...

OK - I made them. And now they're all gone. And the guests enjoyed them greatly.

Fortunately, the kid doesn't much go for them. Hmmm, more for me!

Katie said...

These are a staple of my childhood, as my paternal grandmother hailed from Ontario (Oxenden) and my family kept up the traditional baking (not only BTs, but also Prince of Wales cake). BTs warm the heart along with a pot of genuine Red Rose tea (Only in Canada...Pity). We bought them in quantity whenever we visited Canada and my dad reused the little tins that the BTs came for authenticity (do they package them like that anymore?), altho I am fine with cupcake or shallow tartlet pan.

PS If you haven't raisins, some walnut bits will do.

Thanks so much.

miss cavendish said...

Great memory, Katie . . . I'm now craving some Red Rose tea!