Those bites of tender-crisp, flaky pastry and the sweet, buttery filling makes these Butter Tarts so addictive and delightful.
These butter tarts. I have eaten them every year once the holiday season rolls around. Their appearance come Christmas time is almost like a tradition, as my aunt would bake them every year making them a part of our lives during that special time.
So they are indeed, special. I remember eating these away as I battled a bad case of morning sickness. I took them everywhere with me because only these butter tarts could ward off my stubborn nausea at some point. How is that for a morning sickness cure?
So today, I make them myself. Handed down through generations of family baking, this recipe made it’s way to me via my aunt. From the gentle lady with the smoothest skin and kindest smile I have ever seen, Grandma Mary, then to my aunt Joanne, now to me. I am so delighted to bake these butter tarts this year.
Making Butter Tarts
So this starts off with making the pastry for the crust. I recommend using a bowl that is wide rimmed and not too deep. This will make cutting the lard into the flour easier as well as distributing the liquid more evenly.
- Combine the flour and salt in the bowl whisk them together. Cut in the lard using a pastry cutter. The mixture should like a coarse meal with some large bits here and there.
- Combine vinegar and egg in a liquid measuring cup, then fill the cup with water until the liquid measures 1 cup. Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl while stirring. Once the dough is moistened and clings together when pressed with your fingers, turn it over on a lightly floured board.
- Shape it into one big mass and divide to three almost equal portions. Shape each portion into a disc, wrap it in plastic and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
Tip: When making flaky pastries like this, my philosophy is to not get stressed by the loose, dry crumbs. If some crumbs don’t really want to join the rest of the dough, as long as they are not too much, I leave them behind and move on.
After chilling, it will be rolling time. This can be time-consuming and tedious if you are pressed for time. Of course, as an option, you can always buy the ready-made tart shells. My toddler is dipping her hands in the flour container as I start this.
- Take one of the dough portions out of the fridge and on a floured board, roll it into 1/4 inch thickness. Use a round cutter with 4 inches in diameter and cut as many circles as you can. To prevent the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip your cutter in flour each time before cutting the dough.
- Stack the scraps of dough and re-roll them to make more circles as needed. You can be able to cut as many as 12 circles in one portion. Repeat the rolling and cutting with one more portion of the dough. (You will have one portion of the dough left that you can freeze for future use).
Line two greased muffin pans with the circles. Ease them into the sides and bottom. If you want some decorations, use the tines of a fork to press little lines along the edges of the shell. My daughter starts to sprinkle the flour across the table.
Now briefly refrigerate the muffin pans as you make the filling. The nuts and raisins add beautiful texture to the butter filling. You can use your favorite nuts. I used almonds. My daughter is showering in flour at this time, yay!
Spoon the filling into each shell until they are 1/2 to 1/4 full. Bake them at 375 F for 17-20 minutes, or until the filling is firm.
Then, behold flaky-tender crisp pastries, sweet buttery filling. I cannot stop at one. These are delicious, heavenly treats that I wait for every Christmas season.
Now excuse me as I need to decide, Which one do I do first, eat or clean up?
More Delicious Pastries to Bake:
- Easy Egg Pie
- Caramelized Apple Tarts
- Apple Tart
- Bakewell Tart
- Peach Tarts
- Easy Pecan Pie
- Blueberry Cobbler
For the Tart Crusts
- 5 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 lb lard
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup nuts chopped
- In a large mixing bowl that is not too deep, combine and whisk together flour and salt. Cut in the chilled lard to the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until the mixture turns into a coarse meal with some large bits.
- Combine vinegar and egg in one measuring cup, fill the cup with water until the liquid reaches 1 cup. Gradually pour the liquid into the mixture in the bowl as you stir with a fork. The mixture should cling together when you press them with your fingers. Turn the mixture into a floured board and pat to shape it into one big mass. Divide the dough into three almost equal portions, shape each portion into a disc and wrap it in plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- After chilling, preheat oven to 375 F. Grease two regular muffin pans. Take one dough portion out of the fridge and roll it into 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Using a round cutter that is 4 inches in diameter, cut as many circles as you can. Tip: Dip your cutter in flour before cutting to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Put scraps on top of one another and re-roll again to cut more circles. You should be able to make as much as 12 circles in one portion. Repeat the process with one more portion of the chilled dough. (You will have one portion left of the dough which you can freeze for later use, or make half batch of the filling to make a dozen tart.)
- Ease the circles into the muffin holes and press it down to fit the sides. If desired, use the tines of a fork to press little line decorations on the edge on the tart shells. Refrigerate the tart shells while you make the filling.
- To make the filling, Beat the eggs on a bowl until the whites and yolk are blended. Beat in the sugar. Add the vanilla, vinegar and melted butter. Stir well. Add the nuts and raisins. Spoon the filling into the tart shells until each is about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake the butter tarts in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes or until the filling is firm.
If you make this recipe, I would like to see! Please use hashtag #womanscribbles on Instagram or tag me (@sanna.womanscribbles). Thank you very much!