Maple butter tarts

preparation time: 30 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes

These are pretty much the classic version (all-butter pastry crust, raisins in the filling), with the exception of a maple/corn syrup swap. Happy Canada Day!

For the pastry:
all-purpose flour – 260 g (2 1/3 c)
granulated sugar – 4 tsp
salt – 1 tsp
unsalted butter* – 220 g (2 sticks or 1 c)
egg – 1 large
cold water – 2 Tbsp

For the filling:
dark brown sugar – 75 g (6 Tbsp)
maple syrup – 100 g (5 Tbsp)
unsalted butter – 28 g (2 Tbsp), melted
egg – 1 large
white vinegar – 1 tsp
vanilla – 1/4 tsp
salt – pinch
golden raisins – handful

* About half an hour before making the pastry, put the 2 sticks of butter in the freezer.

Makes 12 regular butter tarts or 24 mini butter tarts.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the very cold butter into the flour and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers, just until you get pea-sized clumps. Add and incorporate the egg. Add the cold water a bit at a time until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Gather the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 210C/425F convection.

Roll out pastry to about 3 mm (or less) thickness. You can do this between two pieces of parchment paper if you find it easier to handle the dough this way. Cut out circles (a 4-inch biscuit cutter works well for regular-sized tarts) and transfer them into a muffin tin, pressing the pastry into the wells. Re-roll the scraps as needed. Once the muffin tin is filled, place it in the freezer to chill while you make the filling.

To make the filling, whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, vinegar, vanilla and salt. You can adjust the amount of maple syrup by plus/minus 1 Tbsp for a less gooey to more gooey filling. Remove the shells from the freezer, place a few raisins in each muffin well, then add some filling (about 2 Tbsp for regular-sized tarts). Do not overfill!

Bake for about 5 minutes, turn down the oven temperature to 190C/375F, and bake another 8-10 minutes until tops are bubbling vigorously, and the pastry is golden-brown at the edges. Allow to cool slightly, then loosen the tarts, remove and enjoy.

Storage: Butter tarts are best eaten right away, but you can keep them in fairly good shape for a day or two at room temperature in an airtight container. They freeze very well though, and keep for several months this way.

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