I have to confess there is nothing particularly innovative about my butter tart recipe, although many tasters have declared them the ‘best ever’. Perhaps it’s because I roll out my pastry between sheets of parchment, which keeps it from getting overhandled and tough. Or maybe it’s because I carefully toast the pecans ahead of time to give them more flavour. My kids and I would agree that it’s likely because I usually omit raisins. Maybe it’s the shot of bourbon I sometimes add to the filling for a great flavour kick. I would also suggest that it helps that I prefer the pastry a little bit on the thick side, to better encase the rich, gooey filling. I am not sure why these are so irresistible, but I know my family and I just love this version.
- 1 batch (single large pie crust) pastry (or 12 purchased frozen 3″ / 7.5 cm tart shells)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (70 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) light cream (half-and-half) (10% butterfat)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts or 1/2 cup raisins
- Roll out the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper (this way you don’t have to add any extra flour to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin).
- Slip the flattened pastry into the fridge for 5 minutes to chill, then lay on work surface. Remove top sheet of parchment and gently place it back on top of the pastry, then flip the whole thing over and remove the other sheet of parchment, setting it aside.
- Using a 4 to 4.5 inch circle (a bowl, plastic container, large mug, etc.), trace circles with the tip of a sharp knife on the rolled, chilled pastry. Gently lift the circles and press them into the compartments of a regular sized muffin tin.
- Reroll the pastry scraps as needed to get 12 tart shells.
- Chill the filled muffin tin in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. If using premade frozen tart shells, do not thaw before filling.
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
- Scatter toasted nuts and/or raisins in the bottom of the tart shells.
- Make the filling by cracking the eggs into a medium sized saucepan then lightly whisking them.
- Whisk in the butter, sugar, and cream.
- Place on medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute after it starts bubbling vigorously then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour the hot filling into a heatproof jug (a 2 cup glass measure works well) and then carefully pour the filling into the tart shells to just below the top edge of the pastry.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 – 18 minutes or until the pastry has nicely browned and the filling is set.
- Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack. Do not be tempted to pull the tarts out of the muffin pan right away; they need time to cool down and firm up.
- Once pan is cool to the touch, remove butter tarts and let cool completely on wire rack before devouring.
Makes 12 irresistable butter tarts.