Pecan Butter Tarts (small batch)

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Pecan Butter Tarts 
 



Desserts don't really get much better or more Canadian than good old fashioned butter tarts.  Ask most Canadians about butter tarts and their eyes will light up.  


I can't think of a Canadian that doesn't love butter tarts, and we all have our own ideas of just how they should be made!


Pecan Butter Tarts
 




Some people think that they should be filled with raisins and currants.  Some people think that they should have walnuts or pecans.  Some people think that they should have nothing but that rich buttery filling and some people like all three.

Some people prefer their pastry thin, others like the pastry thick.  I am from the thick school myself.  (I don't want them falling apart while I am eating them.)


But I'll be honest and say I don't mind what they are filled with!  Nuts, raisins, currants or all three.  I just adore butter tarts and I enjoy them any which way that I can!! 


Pecan Butter Tarts
 





I can remember when I was at school, sometimes after school my sister and I would walk to the Canex store on the base and pool our school milk money (naughty I know) to buy a package of butter tarts to split.  


We would sit on the grass at the top of the hill looking down at the store nibbling on our tarts, enjoying every mouthful. Nothing ever tasted so good to us.  And I will be honest again, the store bought ones were only a patch on homemade ones!  They don't even come close.


Pecan Butter Tarts 




Another thing we as Canadians cannot agree on and that is if the filling should be runny or set. Personally, I like it to be a bit more on the set side.  They are less messy to eat that way.  But its all a matter of personal preference.

It all depends on how many eggs are used. More egg, set filling. Less egg, runny filling.  Because this is a small batch recipe, there is only one egg in it and I am not sure how you get around that. This recipe makes six lovely tarts and the filling is on the set side.

Perhaps just don't cook for as long?  I am not sure. 



Pecan Butter Tarts





WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE PECAN BUTTER TARTS

Simple ordinary baking ingredients.

For the pastry:
  • 1 cup plus 2 TBS (140g plus 2 TBS) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120g) cold butter, cut into bits
  • 3 TBS cold water
  • 1/2 TBS lemon juice or white vinegar
For the filling:
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 cup (100g) dark brown or demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup (120g) toasted pecans



Pecan Butter Tarts






HOW TO MAKE PECAN BUTTER TARTS

These really are not all that hard to make, but you do have to make the pastry up at least 2 hours prior to baking them, so be warned, they are not a last minute thing.

First make the pastry. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs using a pastry blender or two round bladed knives.

Whisk together the water and lemon juice. Add this to the dry mixture all at once, mixing everything together just until the dough comes together. Shape into a log about 6 inches long. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about half an hour before you plan to bake the tarts.


When you are ready to bake the tarts, preheat the oven to 400*F/200*C/gas mark 6. Lightly grease a six cup muffin tin.



Pecan Butter Tarts







Cut the pastry log into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 4 1/2 inch round on a lightly floured surface. Use to line the holes in the muffin cup, making sure they are a good 1/2 inch over the top of the holes in the tin. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.


Melt the brown sugar and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from the heat.


Whisk the egg in a bowl together with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk in the sugar and butter mixture, whisking constantly and taking care not to scramble the egg.



Pecan Butter Tarts 







Divide the toasted pecans between the pastry shells. Using a ladle spoon the filling over the nuts, dividing it equally.

Bake the tarts for 10 minutes at 400*F/200*C/gas mark 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 375*F/190*C/gas mark 5. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust edges have browned.

Cool the tarts in the tin and after about 5 minutes, carefully twist them around in the pan to prevent sticking. Keep them in the pan until completely cooled.

These are best served at room temperature. Do store any leftovers in the refrigerator.



Pecan Butter Tarts 




And that's it. You can eat them as is or with a bit of whipped cream on top, or ice cream.  They are great for taking on picnics, or to enjoy with a nice hot cuppa.


They are great anytime actually.  I can't think of a single moment when I would not enjoy one of these. In fact I could have just finished a huge dinner and said I couldn't eat another bite  but if a plate of these appeared, I would somehow find room!


Yes, they are that good! 



Pecan Butter Tarts



If you are more than just one or two people and would like my full sized recipe for Butter Tarts, you can find it here?


The Scottish have a very similar tart called the Ecclefechan tart. I strongly suspect that Scottish immigrants brought the recipe over with them years and years ago and somehow we Canadians adopted it as our own! 

The British actually really love their tarts and I have quite a few recipes  posted on this blog. Here are a few others you might enjoy.


BAKEWELL TARTS - Crisp pastry, jam,  almond frangipane filling, sugar glaze and a cherry on top.


SCOTTISH COCONUT AND JAM TARTS -These are some of the most popular tarts in Scotland. You will see them on offer in all of the bake shops. Crisp pastry, topped with jam and a macaroon type of topping.


Enjoy!

 

Pecan Butter Tarts (small batch)

Pecan Butter Tarts (small batch)

Yield: 6
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 25 MinInactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 40 M
This Canadian classic has been small batched for the smaller family. It has the same crisp flaky pastry and rich sweet nutty filling of the full size version.

Ingredients

For the pastry:
  • 1 cup plus 2 TBS (140g plus 2 TBS) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120g) cold butter, cut into bits
  • 3 TBS cold water
  • 1/2 TBS lemon juice or white vinegar
For the filling:
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 cup (100g) dark brown or demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup (120g) toasted pecans

Instructions

  1. First make the pastry. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs using a pastry blender or two round bladed knives.
  2. Whisk together the water and lemon juice. Add this to the dry mixture all at once, mixing everything together just until the dough comes together. Shape into a log about 6 inches long. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about half an hour before you plan to bake the tarts.
  3. When you are ready to bake the tarts, preheat the oven to 400*F/200*C/gas mark 6. Lightly grease a six cup muffin tin.
  4. Cut the pastry log into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 4 1/2 inch round on a lightly floured surface. Use to line the holes in the muffin cup, making sure they are a good 1/2 inch over the top of the holes in the tin. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
  5. Melt the brown sugar and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from the heat.
  6. Whisk the egg in a bowl together with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk in the sugar and butter mixture, whisking constantly and taking care not to scramble the egg.
  7. Divide the toasted pecans between the pastry shells. Using a ladle spoon the filling over the nuts, dividing it equally.
  8. Bake the tarts for 10 minutes at 400*F/200*C/gas mark 6. Reduce the oven temperature to 375*F/190*C/gas mark 5. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust edges have browned.
  9. Cool the tarts in the tin and after about 5 minutes, carefully twist them around in the pan to prevent sticking. Keep them in the pan until completely cooled.
  10. These are best served at room temperature. Do store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Did you make this recipe?
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Pecan Butter Tarts





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