It’s Canada Day Eve! Which means, traditionally, I’m baking butter tarts. This year I decided to make bacon butter tarts. Maple bacon butter tarts, even.
I know, it’s been said that bacon has jumped the shark. But this makes sense – salty bacon with sweet maple syrup and brown sugar – this is a perfect fit, and oh so Canadian. I’ll be bringing a large batch to our friend’s annual Canada Day party tomorrow. If the reaction at the CBC studio this morning was any indication, they’ll go fast.
A few ways to up the bacon ante: replace some of the fat in the pastry with chilled bacon drippings, or drizzle some into the filling in place of some of the melted butter. Although I usually default to my grandma’s butter tart recipe, I decided to use the one from the Five Roses Cookbook, which I recently learned was on the shelf in 650,000 Canadian households back in 1915.
Of course, this tart is as tasty (if not as bacon-y) made with the traditional currants or raisins, chopped pecans, or nothing at all. Happy Canada Day, eh?
Bacon Butter Tarts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (or half butter, half lard), chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold water
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple or Roger’s Golden syrup
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice or cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup(ish) chopped cooked, crumbled bacon, currants, raisins or chopped pecans
To make the pastry, in a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers (or pulse in the food processor) until well blended, with some pieces of fat the size of a pea. Drizzle in enough water to make the dough hold together – you’ll likely need almost all of it. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/8-inch thin; cut into 3-inch rounds with a cutter or glass rim and fit into muffin cups. Reroll the scraps only once to get as many as possible. Preheat the oven to 375F.
To make the filling, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, lemon juice and salt, stirring until smooth.
Sprinkle some chopped, cooked bacon, currants, raisins or pecans into the bottom of each pastry cup and fill with the filling mixture, filling almost full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the pan while the tarts are still warm.
Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen tarts.