Canada’s National Dessert: Butter Tart

All locals should experience one of the tastiest things to come out of the True North.

In a land not so far away, north of the 49th parallel, every bakery worth its butter, every cookbook, everyone’s grandmother knows the secret to heaven on earth. At least when it comes to sweet things. It’s called a butter tart: a magical alchemy of butter, eggs, sweetness and pastry.

According to Canada’s culinary archives, the first known recipe for butter tarts was called “Filling for Tarts” and was published in 1900 in a fundraising cookbook produced by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Victoria Hospital in the rural Ontario town of Barrie. Thank you, Mrs. Malcolm MacLeod – a star was born!

Home cooks across Canada shamelessly copied that first recipe. Yet, to this day, every butter tart-baking Canadian will tell you their recipe is unique. Oh, and every butter tart-eating Canadian (which is basically all 35 million of them) will say their grandma’s/mom’s version is the best.

To honor Canada Day (July 1), and the large number of Canadians that now call the Lowcountry home, we humbly offer a recipe for this sweet Canadian delicacy.

Canadian Butter Tarts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons ice water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Fill a cup with ice and water. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening to make pea-size pieces. Add the tablespoons of ice water from the cup until dough holds together. Form the dough into a ball. The dough is now complete. Put it into a plastic bag or wrap it up and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Roll the dough between two sheets of waxed paper. Cut the shells using a large glass or your smallest pot. You should have about 12 shells when finished. Put these shells into a greased muffin or tart pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put walnuts and coconut on baking pan and roast for 5-10 minutes, until brown. Remove from oven and set temperature to 450 degrees. Fill the bottom of each tart shell with about 10 raisins each. Whisk together sugar, egg, butter, vanilla and hot water. Add coconut and walnuts. Pour mixture into tart shells, filling 2/3 full and no more. Bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before attempting to remove. Makes 12 tarts.

Have Btarts Shipped to Your Door

When Asher Weiss moved to the Lower 48, he couldn’t find his home country’s beloved national dessert anywhere. Founding Btarts, he now shares Canada’s iconic sweet pastry with Lowcountry residents and the rest of the United States. Subtly flavored with real maple syrup, Btarts’ handmade butter tarts are an irresistible sweet treat that are both gooey and flaky at the same time. Perfect at room temperature or heated up for the ultimate ooze, these tarts will make you wonder: where they b all this time? Order them online at www.eatbtarts.com.

The LOCAL Life Team had some fun sampling Butter Tarts, tasty little pieces of heaven courtesy of Btarts.


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