Who doesn't love a butter tart?
Maple Syrup? Check.
What more do you need!?
My grandma taught me how to make pastry and butter tarts about 15 years ago. And she told me at the time that the more I make them, the more my technique and recipe will evolve to suit me. And she was right! There is also a knack to perfect pastry, but trust me.... you can do this.
I'm even going to let you in on the Obsessive family's secret to flaky crust. Ready? Tenderflake shortening. Yep. That's it. Get yourself a box of Tenderflake and follow the recipe on the box. It works every single time. There is one stipulation though. Do NOT try to half or double the recipe. Don't ask me why.... Logic says you should be able to and get the same results. But you just can't. Your girl has tried.... and ended up with butter pucks instead of tarts. I hurt Scott's soul that day.
My other pointer for amazing, drool worthy pastry is USE YOUR HANDS. Get in there. It is the only way I can get the right consistency in the dough. Squish, smoosh when you are bringing the shortening and flour together. But switch to kneading (and really throw your weight into it) when bringing the flour/shortening mixture and wet ingredients together.
My last 'pro tip' has to do with the filling. If your choose to add nuts or raisins to your butter tarts, I highly suggest letting them soak in hot water out of the kettle while you make the dough and filling. It saturates them with moisture and stops them drying out your tarts during the baking process. A great tip I learned from THE Anna Olson on the food network. Gosh, she is the greatest.
You'll also notice that you change the temperature of the oven after the first 6mins of baking. That is also Anna Olson's technique. She is just a genius and it makes all of the difference in how they turn out. Trust me.
Okay, actually she says to bake for 5 mins at higher temp. But five is bad number and makes my eye twitch.... because anxiety is real and I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. So 6mins. Because 6 is a good number.
And now we are just going zoom right past how unhealthy my thought processes are and pretend we are all normal here.
Oh! Actually, one last thing. Do not hold me to the yields on this recipe. Every single time I bake these I end up with a different number of tarts. Sometimes 30. Sometimes 40. Sometimes I give up half way through and go buy a box from the store, rough up the tarts with a fork and pretend they are mine :)
Well let's stop talking about it. Go and get baking! It's delicious therapy. Trust me.
Yields approximately 36 tarts (Don't hold me to this)
-2 cups shortening
- 5 1/2 cups flour
-2 tsp salt
-1 lrg egg
-1 tbsp vinegar
-3/4 cup water (approximately)
-1 cup melted butter
-1 1/2 cup maple syrup
-1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 splash vanilla
- Juice of one small orange
- 1 cup filling of your choice (raisins, pecans, almonds, toffee chips)
Let's start with the pastry. Add flour and salt to a very large bowl. Chop up the shortening into chucks and add it to the bowl. Using your hands (not a pastry cutter), work the shortening into the flour mixture until it looks like course oatmeal. It takes about five minutes.
Add the egg and vinegar to a 2 cup measure and beat with a fork until frothy. Then fill with water to the 1 cup line.
Add approximately 3/4 of the egg mixture to the flour/shortening. Work the mixture with your hands until a ball of dough begins to form. Knead, adding a little bit of the leftover egg mixture if needed, until the dough holds together and comes away from the bowl without sticking.
Divide dough ball into manageable chunks (4ish) and using a rolling pin, roll out dough onto a heavily floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick (the height of a coaster).
Cut out rounds and press/fit into baking pans. You do not need to grease your pan, the shortening has enough fat that those suckers will pop right out of the pans when baked.
Preheat oven to 425f.
Now for the filling! Add melted butter and brown sugar to a bowl and whisk together until well combined.
Add eggs, vanilla and orange juice to mixture and whisk until well combined.
Add maple syrup and do one final whisk to mix it all together.
Take filling of your choosing and sprinkle it evenly into the bottom of your tart shells. Or... if you're an animal... just leave them plain.
Pour filling into tart shells until approximately 2/3 full. Do not over fill. Because then the filling will bubble over and burn your pastry to the baking pan. Have you ever tried to get a burnt tart out of a pan without breaking it into a million pieces? Today is not the day to try.
Bake for 6 minutes at 425f and then turn oven down to 375f. Allow tarts to bake for another 20-25mins. You'll know they're done when the shell is golden brown and the filling has a bubbling, gooey film over it.
And, you just made a delicious batch of homemade butter tarts that will astonish your friends and family. Look at you go! They will totally think you have your shit together if you pull this one off.
P.S. Did I mention that I have found the gif button on my post creator? Your Sunday mornings are about to get a whole lot better.