Canada’s quintessential dessert, the butter tart, gets a grown-up twist with warming whisky, rich pecans and pure maple syrup. Canadian rye whisky adds a touch of warmth and natural spice notes, complementing the super-sweet buttery interior. It’s all balanced by the addition of pecans to add the perfect contrasting crunch. For the pastry, a mixture of butter and shortening helps to create those pretty frilled edges homemade butter tarts are known for – they also help to capture every bit of that sticky, just runny enough, spiked filling.
Chilling Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add shortening and butter, and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together water, egg yolk and lemon juice until combined. With the processor running, gradually add egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture, until dough just begins to come together.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and shape into two discs. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one disc into a circle measuring ⅛-inch or so in thickness. Carefully transfer, with parchment paper intact (to keep it from sticking), to a baking sheet. Repeat this with the second dough disc (use two baking sheets or layer on top of each other using parchment to separate). Cover each rolled disc loosely with additional parchment paper to avoid drying out, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until chilled and firm.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking oil or lightly grease with oil or extra shortening.
Using a round 4- to 5-inch round cookie cutter or wine glass, cut dough into 12 circles, re-rolling dough once if necessary. Gently press rounds into prepared pan allowing edges to fold up around each other and extend above the rim of pan. Freeze for 20 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
In a medium bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, melted butter, eggs, whisky, vinegar and salt until smooth and sugar begins to dissolve.
Remove pastry shells from freezer. Divide pecans evenly in the bottom of each frozen pastry shell. Pour or ladle filling on top of pecans, filling 1/2-inch below the top of the pastry.
Bake in the bottom third of oven for 10 minutes at 450ºF. Reduce heat to 400°F and continue to bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until filling is set and puffed, covering with foil or parchment to prevent excess browning if necessary.
Transfer pan to wire cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of tarts and let cool completely in pan. Pop them out when you’re ready to enjoy them. Serve and store butter tarts at room temperature.