Wednesday, March 17, 2010

All-Canadian Butter Tart Bars

Desserts such butter tarts make me proud to be Canadian. Butter tarts are flaky pastry shells filled with a sweet, chewy, buttery, gooey, nutty mixture. They are similar to the American pecan pie or British treacle tart, but in my opinion, so much better :)

The definition of a "perfect butter tart" can be controversial especially when it comes to the filling. Firm or runny? Raisins or currants? Pecans or Walnuts? With or without coconut? I personally prefer them in bar form rather than tart form. For one, it's easier and faster to press the crust into a pan than roll it out to line individual tart pans. My favorite combination is walnuts, raisins, no coconut and the filling just firm enough to hold together as a bar but still gooey enough to melt in your mouth.

Definitely give these a shot. They couldn't be easier. Once you've tried them in their "true" form, feel free to experiment and add chocolate chips, peanut butter, dates or craisins. For me, I'll stick to the classic. For another Canadian specialty, try these Nanaimo Bars.

All-Canadian Butter Tart Bars
8" pan | Adapted from "A Century of Canadian Home Cooking"

1/3 to 1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup ground pecans (optional)

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Base: Cream together butter and sugar. Add flour and ground nuts if using. When blended together and crumbly, press into the bottom of a greased 8" square dish. Bake 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven but leave oven turned on.

3. Topping: Combine all ingrrdients together well and pour over lightly browned base. Return to oven for approximately 30 minutes. Edges will pull away slightly from the pan and centre will be no longer jiggly.


MaryMoh said...

Looks very delicious. I would love some now, even though it's almost bed time. Just look so good...mmmm

Jennifer said...

These look delicious!!! I love how the raisins sort of ooze through the topping. I might try these with dried blueberries or cranberries.....

Cookin' Canuck said...

I absolutely adore butter tarts and need to introduce them to my American friends here. What a great idea to make them into bars!

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Stella said...

Ooh, butter tarts with raisins. I love the way raisins taste all chewy and tannin like after baking. Looks delicious, Tia!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Oooo I want to be Canadian now.

Mary said...

Yum--I love butter tarts! Minus the raisins, of course! My grandmother used to make these squares, but I usually make the tarts (well, usually meaning every few years). These would be quicker and easier though. Feeling very patriotic now:)