Whether runny or firm, with raisins or nuts, butter tarts are treats that never go out of style. Because any sugar filling that overflows the pastry hardens quickly and sticks to the pan, be sure to remove the tarts as directed. Or count on family members to hang around the kitchen waiting to eat the tarts that stick and break.
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup (60 mL) lard or butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar
3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) corn syrup
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, softened
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) currants or raisins or chopped pecans or shredded coconut
In large bowl, whisk flour with salt. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter and lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.
In liquid measure, whisk egg yolk with vinegar; add enough ice water to make 1/3 cup (75 mL). Sprinkle over flour mixture, stirring briskly with fork until pastry holds together. Press into disc; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Filling: In bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt until blended; set aside.
On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness. Using 4-inch (10 cm) round cookie cutter (or empty 28 oz/796 mL can), cut out 12 circles, rerolling scrops once if necessary. Fit into 2-3/4- x 1-1/4-inch (7 x 3 cm) muffin cups. Divide currants among shells. Spoon in filling until three-quarters full.
Bake in bottom third of 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) oven until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden, about 12 minutes. Let stand on rack for 1 minute. Run metal spatula around tarts to loosen; carefully slide spatula under tarts and transfer to rack to let cool.
Chocolate Gooey Butter Tarts: Drizzle cooled tarts with 2 oz (60 g) melted semisweet or white chocolate.
Best Butter Tarts: Decrease brown sugar to 1/2 cup (125 mL); increase corn syrup to 1/2 cup (125 mL).