Sure, Canadians are passionate about hockey and Tim Horton’s, but a lesser known obsession is with butter tarts. Not to be confused with the British treacle tart, which differs in taste and texture, these are objects of cultural pride with roots in Canada’s pioneering past. The first known published recipe was in a Women’s Auxiliary cookbook in 1900 and is believed to be linked to older family recipes brought by Amish settlers for molasses shoofly pie.
The fanatical devotion to butter tarts has spawned its own tourism industry. Muskoka Lakes, Ontario hosts the annual Butter Tart Festival while Midland, Ontario has the Best Butter Tart Taste-Off. Tourists visiting North Wellington, Ontario can sign on for a day tour called the Butter Tart Trail and sample their way through bakeries and cafes in pretty Mennonite country.
Canadians have opinions about butter tart variations, such as adding nuts or raisins or coconut. But one thing is agreed upon: don’t ever substitute the maple syrup. Happy July 1, aka Canada Day!
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla pod, shaved
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1) Stir flour and salt in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine oil and water.
2) Add both mixes to flour and stir lightly until dough comes together. Gather into ball.
3) Roll out on floured surface to 3-millimeter thickness.
4) Cut out 24 circles and place in greased muffin tins.
5) Divide raisins evenly among the shells.
6) Lightly beat eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter and vanilla in a bowl.
7) Pour over raisins, filling shells three-quarters full.
8) Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees until set (about 15 minutes).
9) Cool, then carefully remove from pan.
// This recipe is courtesy of Chef David Chow from the Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre, 339 Huanshi Dong Lu, Yuexiu District 越秀区环市东路339号 (8540 6955)