Caramel Butter Tarts
- serves 8
2 ¼ cup pastry flour
½ tsp salt
¾ cup lard or vegetable shortening
1 tsp lemon juice
4-6 tablespoons cold waterFilling
1 cup dried currants
½ cup hot water
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp white vinegar
¼ cup corn syrup
½ cup maple syrupCaramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp golden corn syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup water
¾ cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extractTo Assemble
1. BUTTER TARTS: Preheat oven to 375° F. For pastry, combine flour and salt and cut in lard until coarse and crumbly. Whisk lemon juice and egg and mix into dough until it just comes together. If needed, add 4-6 tablespoons of cold water to help bind the pastry. Wrap and keep at room temperature while preparing filling.
2. For filling, soak currants in hot water for 10 minutes and drain. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugar and stir in eggs. Mix in vanilla, vinegar and cinnamon. Whisk in corn syrup and maple syrup.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to just shy of ¼-inch thick. Cut 6-inch rounds from pastry and line ungreased muffin tins, pressing in to ensure pastry gets into corners. Sprinkle a few currants in each shell and pour filling over, coming only halfway up. Bake tarts for 18 to 22 minutes, until filling is set. Allow to cool before removing from tin.
4. To serve, place butter tart on plate and drizzle with Caramel Sauce (directions follow).
5. Butter tarts will keep up to a week in an airtight container (if they last that long).
6. CARAMEL SAUCE: Bring sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and water to a boil over high heat in a covered heavy-bottomed saucepot. Do not stir! Remove lid once boiling and let sugar cook, brushing sides of the pot right against sugar with cool water once or twice, until an amber colour. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream (watch out for steam). Stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
7. Caramel sauce can be prepared ahead and chilled until ready to serve. Simply heat in microwave to warm. Carmel sauce will keep up to a week refrigerated. Yield: approximately 1 1/2 cups.