We enjoyed these tarts, a variation of the traditional Canadian Butter Tart, at a media show in San Francisco, and they were a hit—flaky, butter, slightly sweet and absolutely addictive. They were baked onsite by Joy Road Catering, a gourmet catering company that puts on wine dinners all summer long at God’s Mountain Estate in Pemberton in British Columbia’s Okanagan region.
The secret to flaky buttery tart pastry, according to Joy Road Catering master bakers Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith, is not over mixing and keeping the dough very cold. This keeps the little pieces of butter suspended in the dough which makes the dough flaky and so buttery.
This recipe is actually quite easy. However, because it requires overnight refrigeration, it takes time. The results are well worth it.
Recipe courtesy Joy Road Catering joyroadcatering.com
For the Pastry
4 cups all-purpose flour
420 g (14.8 ounces or 28 Tbs) unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup ice water
Want to know more about traditional Canadian Butter Tarts? Check out
Put flour, sugar and salt into a food processer and blend for a few seconds to mix. Add butter and pulse just until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with pea-sized pieces of butter.
Turn on blender and drizzle in ice water mixing just until you can see the bottom of the mixture.
Turn dough into bowl. Take one half of the dough and sandwich between two layers of plastic wrap. Roll out with a rolling pin to ½” thickness (don’t worry if you see unincorporated flecks of butter in the dough, this is normal).
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and cut dough into four squares. Roll out each square thin. Put a 6” ring onto each square and cut around to form circles. Chill the dough again for 30 minutes.
Lay each circle of dough out on a baking sheet and place ¼ cup fruit in the middle. (Depending on the fruit, you may need to sweeten. If using apples, pre-cook with a little sugar.) Gather up the edges of the dough to form a small tart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (check the bottom to make sure they’re done).
Want to know more about traditional Canadian Butter Tarts? Check out Mary Harris’ story on the Midland Butter Tart Festival.