Hopefully this will be the first of a series of posts on Canada. I am sure that many won't expect gourmet dishes from the northern cousin of America but to our surprise we discovered many delicacies which I want to share with you.
The trees get wired up with a series of tubes that are then channeled into a main pot where all the sap gets collected, then directed into a massive cauldron and boiled for ages until it acquires the desired consistency. And the purer it is the more expensive it gets - and by purity I mean not been mixed with the syrup from previous years or from different batches - so no cuvees please!
One gets so convinced that maple syrup is simply everywhere that I was deadly sure that it was one of the main ingredients of these wonderful tarts...perhaps the trick is given but a combination of muscovado sugar, cream, and butter. These little crumbly melt-in-the-mouth gems that are sold almost everywhere in Ontario - there is even a "butter tarts trail" around the town of Kenilworth where bakeries claim to seel thousands a week - are tiny cases of pastry filled with a mix of butter (obviously!) and cream that becomes one of the most delicious filling - it is so oozy that there is no point in cutting a tart into half to share the guilt, you've got to have it all or the syrup will form a big lake in your plate leaving even more traces of your gluttony!
Clearly there are many, many, many variations of butter tarts and everyone will swear that his/her recipe was given by her great grand-mother and is THE authentic and very best. We sampled quite a few - we clearly do our research with seriousness - and frankly the best one was that with a slightly thicker and unsweetened pastry case and a more runny heart. You can add walnuts and raisins too but I would go for the simple ones, nothing added.
For the pastry
1/2 tsp salt
113g cold unsalted butter
30-60ml cold water
For the filling
210 muscovado sugar
60ml double cream
Make the pastry by mixing the dry ingredients and then adding all at once the water to make a moist dough which needs to left to rest wrapped in cling film in the fridge for at least half an hour. Once it has chilled roll it and make your cases.
For the filling melt the butter and beat it with the sugar. Then add the eggs one at the time to then finish with stirring the cream in it. Fill the pastry cases with it up to the ridge and then bake them in the oven for 20 minutes at 190C. You can serve them with creme fraiche - to reach your daily calories intake - or simply on their own with a cup of tea or coffee.