Friday, July 1, 2011

Butter Tart Canada Day Cupcakes

Canada has some pretty sophisticated cuisine. Yes, there's poutine and flapjacks (with plenty of maple syrup). But we're so much more than that. We've got . . . um . . . salted cod? Caribou stew? Flipper pie?

Okay. So we're not winning any James Beard awards with our cheese curds and pemmican. But we still can win a fight with our regional sweets. I'm sure, by now, you've heard of Nanaimo Bars? Of course you have - Cakespy has been preaching from the good book of Nanaimo for years now. Last Canada Day, we even introduced you to a cupcake version of the godly bar. Now, this Canada Day, it's time to introduce you to another famous Canuck sweet.

ButterTart_RT (4)
The Butter Tart.

There is nothing fancy nor snoody about this little treat. It's exactly what it sounds like - a flaky tart shell with some sort of magical buttery filling that must have been created by the God of Pastries. Americans may have seen these little tarts down south, but often they are tainted. By pecans or walnuts. I'll forgive this time, my American friends, for you do not know proper butter tart etiquette - if you ever put anything into a butter tart, it should be raisins. That's it.

Of course, you can put butter tarts in something, if you'd like.


Our butter tart cupcakes play with the simple (and super sweet) flavours that come from the original. We started with a brown sugar and raisin cake that's spiked with a pinch of cinnamon and rum. The frosting gets a lovely nutty flavour from a healthy portion of browned butter.

The best part is in the middle. We've baked a butter tart right into the center of this thing. Oh Canada is right.

ButterTart_RT (5)

Butter Tart Cupcakes
makes 16 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon run extract
1/2 cup sultana raisins
mini butter tarts (store bought, or homemade - recipe below)

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, whip together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light - for about three minutes or so. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whip up well. Add your extracts and whip some more. Add the two tablespoons of your buttermilk, then mix well.

3) With a wooden spoon, mix in half the dry ingredients and fold in a few times, careful to get the bottom and sides. Add the rest of the buttermilk and stir lightly. Pour in the rest of your dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Add your raisins, then stir a few times to evenly distribute.

4) Put a tablespoon of batter into your cupcakes. Place half a mini butter tart on top of the batter, then cover it with another tablespoon of batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until your cake tester comes out clean. Leave out to cool before icing.

Browned Butter Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, divided
4 oz cream cheese
about 2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

1) Brown a half cup of butter and set out to cool to room temperature. Take the other half cup of butter and the cream cheese and cream together with the electric mixer. Pour in the cooled brown butter and extracts and mix some more. Slowly add in your confectioner's sugar until you've reached your desired consistency. (Add milk if too thick). Pipe on top of cupcakes.

Mini Butter Tarts
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vinegar
Ice water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 egg
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
a pinch salt
1/4 cup raisins

1) Make the pastry: In large bowl, whisk the flour with salt. With your hands (or a pastry cutter - but I'm pretty old school), cut in the butter until your mixture resembles coarse crumbs (a few larger pieces is just fine). In a measuring cup, whisk together the egg yolk with vinegar. Add enough ice water to make 1/3 cup or 75 mL. Sprinkle your wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir with your hands or a fork until a dough sticks together. Press into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

2) Make the filling: In bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt until well blended. Set aside. On a floured surface, roll out pastry to about an 1/8 of an inch thickness. Using 2 inch round cookie cutter cut out at least 16 circles. Fit into a mini muffin tin. Divide your raisins among each of the tart shells. Spoon in filling until three-quarters full. Bake in bottom of 450 F oven until the filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden (about 10 minutes). Let cool slightly in the tin for a while before removing.


Lora said...

This is so over the top yum...and sooo creatie. They look so beautiful as well. Happy Canada Day indeed.

Unknown said...

Delicious!!! Send me some to NY, we're not that far apart.. J

Monet said...

Oh yes please. I want one of these right now. After a long day at work, it was refreshing to come and visit your blog. I hope you are having a good start to your week. Much love and many hugs from Austin! Thank you for sharing your creative concoctions with me.

S.V. said...

These look fantastic!!!!

Brodie said...

I just fell in LOVE

Shirley said...

Why don't we have these across the border?? Raisins, butter, cake ... we're seriously missing out.

Rose /Magpie said...

Oh Lord! I should move to Canada just for the desserts, leave alone the beauty!

Charlotte Hooper said...

I love these Canadian themed cupcakes. I thank you for the idea as this could lead to a a dazzling array of United Nations Day cupcake themes. Maybe distinct flavor for each country could be implemented.

Unknown said...

I enjoy reading all your post in your blogs. I guess you are a great blogger because you have a lot of comments in your blogs. Keep on posting. Please inspire more people through your post! Fighting!

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