Canadian Butter Tarts

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I thought butter tarts would be difficult to get right (the gooey centre, caramelised top, buttery pastry), especially the first time, perhaps because I’ve tasted so many mediocre ones.  It turns out the key is to make the pastry from scratch, instead of using those gross pre-made ones.  The pastry is super simple to make, and well worth the effort, I promise.
For the Pastry
  • 2 ¼ cups flour (pastry flour is best to use but all-purpose will do)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (Very cold and cut in cubes)
  • 6 tbsp ice water (approximately, enough to bring the dough together)
For the Filling
  • ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins ( substituting, pecans, walnuts or chocolate chips also make good variations)
Instructions
To prepare the pastry
  1. Pulse the cold butter into the flour sugar and salt using a food processor until the shortening or butter is reduced to pea sized pieces.
  2. Sprinkle the water over the surface and toss with a fork until the water is just incorporated into the dough. Do not over work the dough; handle it only enough so that the dough stays together.
  3. Form the dough into two rounds about an inch thick.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about a half hour.
  5. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds with 4 inch cutter. Fit into muffin cups. Chill in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling. Cold pastry heading into a hot oven will always be flakier.
To make the filling
  1. Combine all filling ingredients except raisins.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle raisins in a single layer in the bottom of the pastry lined muffin cups.
  4. Fill ⅔ full with syrup mixture.
  5. Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from from pans.
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