Canadians are kind of obsessed with butter tarts and there’s a good reason. The light and flaky pastry holds a gooey, sweet, and slightly runny filling that is sometimes studded with pecans or raisins. The buttery treats are so beloved that they’ve garnered an annual festival in their honour, where fans can get their butter tart fill.
Needless to say, this dessert has a big place in the hearts of Canadians. But we’ve taken it to new heights with a family-sized maple butter tart pie that is so good, everyone will find room for dessert.
This larger tart celebrates our love of the Ontario favourite with inspiration from Quebec’s maple-filled dessert “tarte au sucre.” Our version starts with a light cream cheese pie crust, baked with an addictive filled that’s a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup – no corn syrup here! As the pie cooks the sugar caramelizes to create a light crunchy top with a custard-like interior. Bake it up for your next get together and see for yourself!
This recipe requires 2 hours chill time and 30 minutes freeze time.
For the dough, in the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Add butter and cream cheese, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add ice water, 2 Tbsp at a time, just until the dough comes together. You may not need to use all of the water. Shape ⅔ of dough into a disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll large disk of dough to ¼-inch thickness. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim excess dough, and fold edges under. Roll remaining disk of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out leaves with a leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Brush each leaf with water and press onto edges of crust. Freeze for the crust for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place a piece of parchment paper on top of pie crust, letting ends extend over edges. Fill with pie weights. Bake until edges are set, about 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and bake for an additional 2 minutes, or just until bottom crust is set. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
For the filling, in a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, maple syrup, egg yolks, egg, vanilla and salt until smooth.
In a small saucepan, combine whipping cream and butter over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly pour into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain through a sieve, discarding any pieces. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
Bake in bottom third of oven, until golden brown and the filling is set (center should still tremble), about 1 hour 10 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminium foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool completely before serving. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar if desired.