I was out at dinner one night and there were four of us, virtual strangers sitting around a table sharing a large leg of pork. Somewhere during the medieval type feast one of my dining companions told me that she knew of a fashion and or beauty editor who ate dinner at home while wearing a bikini in front of a mirror to help avoid over eating. We looked up from the crackling that we were crunching between our teeth and paused for a moment aghast at the very idea of a) eating in a bikini or b) doing it in front of a mirror. Poor thing we murmured sympathetically.
This recipe is probably not for that poor girl.
Another of our table companions divulged that she spent a day with one of Australias biggest supermodels and in the whole day the apple cheeked supermodel did not eat a single thing.
This recipe is not for fashion week or supermodels.
However this recipe is for the onset of the cooler and rainy weather. Originally from Canada, the butter tart is a rich pastry tart filled with vanilla soused raisins and butter. The filling is aromatic and gooey and the pastry is divinely flaky and buttery. Truthfully, despite the name, there isn't that much more butter than in a regular tart especially when you divide the filling into 12 which is how many tarts this recipe makes. So if you need to know that in order to try then by all means go ahead and have one.
Just not in a bikini and not in front of a mirror (unless that is really your sort of thing ).
So tell me Dear Reader, do you feel pressure to be a certain weight? And what do you think about the idea of eating dinner in a bikini in front of a mirror? Genius or ghastly?
Luscious Canadian Butter Tarts
1 1/4 cups plain all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
113g or 1 stick cold butter, cut into 1cm/half inch cubes
1/4 cup iced water
A little butter for greasing tin
1/4 cup or 60g or 2 ozs butter, softened
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup glucose or corn syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup raisins, steeped in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes and then drained
Step 1 - Make the pastry first. You can also use a ready made shortcrust or puff pastry but this pastry recipe above is particularly buttery, soft and flakey and apart from taking time it is really simple. To make it, just combine all of the ingredients except for the ice water in a food processor and whiz until you get a sandy consistency. Or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to get the sand consistency. Then add the ice water and pulse until it starts to come together (do not over process) and then empty this out onto a benchtop lined with cling wrap and form a cohesive ball by gently kneading (not too much). Refrigerate for 1 hour. You might want to soak your raisins now for the filling too while you are waiting.
Step 2 - Meanwhile, grease a muffin or cupcake tin with a little butter. When firm, roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling wrap and use a round or fluted round cookie cutter to cut out rounds. You should have enough pastry to do 12 tarts to fit in a regular cupcake tin. Place into the cavities of the muffin tray, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until needed. You can do this a day ahead.
Butter tart filling
Step 3 - Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Make the filling which is so easy you might even allow yourself a happy dance about how simple it is! ;) Simply mix all of the ingredients together until evenly distributed. Glucose syrup is a bit stiffer than corn syrup so you may need to work at mixing that and the butter together. Spoon it into the tart shells being careful not to overfill. Bake for 15 minutes until the centre is glistening and the pastry is buttery and golden. Once baked, run a knife around the edge of the pastry just to loosen it and then allow to cool before eating.