I’m guessing that most everyone in the UK (or at least London) is familiar with the American pecan pie despite the feeling I get that pecans aren’t that popular over here. But have you heard of the Canadian butter tart? Imagine a pecan pie but without any pecans and with raisins and yup, that’s basically a butter tart; it’s still got a buttery crust and that slightly gooey filling with its tasty browned top. It was a cross between a pecan pie and a butter tart that I wanted to achieve with this recipe. A straight up butter tart could definitely be improved with some nuts but I wanted to use something other than pecans.
Enter the pine nut. I love them in savoury dishes but I also like them in desserts and other sweet treats. And in this tart, they were fabulous – their rich flavour worked very well in the buttery filling. I also tossed in a handful of currants too that I had kicking about, but not before giving them a soaking in a rum mixture. The crust too was ridiculously easy as I found this simple pat-in crust over on Canadian Living (a Canadian woman’s magazine) – no rolling required. I made both a large tart and a few little mini muffin sized ones with what I had leftover but there’s nothing stopping you from making only one or the other. The little ones are awfully cute but a large tart does look quite impressive!
Pine Nut and Currant Tart
makes a 9 inch tart or an 8 inch tart with a few extra mini muffin sized ones.
For the Pastry
300 mL plain flour
25 mL sugar
75 g unsalted and very cold butter, diced
2 tbsps very cold water
1 tsp white vinegar
For the Filling
1 egg, beaten
75 g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsps milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried currants
1-2 tbsps rum
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
Make the pastry case(s) first. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Toss in the butter and use your hands to rub it into the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. If you’re nervous about using your hands, you can use a pastry cutter or two knives. Drizzle in the vinegar and the cold water and stir all together – the mixture should still be very crumbly. You could also do all this in a food processor.
For little tarts, use a mini muffin tin. For a large tart, use a loose based tart tin. Take handfuls of the tart mixture and press into the tins. Make sure to press up against the sides as well. Refrigerate the tart case(s) for at least 15 minutes.
Mix the rum with some hot water and soak the currants in this mixture for about 10 minutes. Drain them and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 190 Celsius.
Make the filling. Stir together the egg, softened butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and then stir in the soaked currants and the pine nuts. Pour into the chillled tart shell and then bake in the preheated oven until the filling is set and the pastry is golden. If using mini muffin tins, they’ll take about 15 minutes. An 8 inch tart pan will take about 30 minutes.