In my search for Canadian recipes I came across many for Butter Tarts. Described sometimes as a "little pecan pie" I passed on these recipes because they either included raisins (which neither Mr. L nor I are fond of) or required pastry dough (something I'm not quite up to tackling). When I saw this version of a Canadian butter tart in the A Taste of Canada cookbook, I thought it was a great updated version that I could try. It uses frozen phyllo pastry instead of the usual short crust pastry and has plenty of pecans instead of raisins.
These Butter Tarts in Phyllo lived up to my expectations. Easy to make, not too overpowering flavor wise (I was concerned they would be too sweet) and not bad even when they were cold and the dough had gotten soggy. These make a great presentation and I think this may be dessert next time I have a dinner party. I'd definitely make these again.
Now as far as the phyllo dough goes, I was excited to use it as it's been on my "Food Resolutions" list for several years. Not so excited when I opened the package. It looked like someone had already taken a little knife and made little cuts in all the phyllo sheets (you could tell even before I unrolled the sheets). Seriously are all frozen phyllo packages like that? It didn't really make a difference in taste and esthetically I was able to finagle the sheets to look somewhat okay in the finished product, but it was a bit daunting to start out with already messed up dough.
And just a reminder, one should not watch the Olympic coverage when one is baking. Because instead of paying attention to the instructions of the recipe, I think maybe I was cheering on Vonn. Or screaming at Scott to pass others to take the Snowboard Cross Gold. Or wondering if there are any athletes at the Olympics that had normal lives and didn't have horrible hardships and sob stories. Or maybe it was even when I was commenting that it was so not fair that Shaun White has such better hair than most women. The instructions said "cut into 12 squares" I read 15. Sigh. A little reconstruction made the tarts look okay, but they didn't have the high phyllo sides they should have.BUTTER TARTS IN PHYLLO DOUGH
6 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Place the phyllo pastry between two sheets of waxed paper and cover with a damp tea towel. Place 1 sheet on a work surface, keeping the remaining sheets covered. Brush the phyllo with some of the melted butter; top with a second sheet. Continue stacking the sheets of phyllo, brushing each with melted butter, until you have a stack of 6. Brush the top sheet well with butter. Cut into 12 even squares. Press the squares evenly into 12 muffin cups.
Filling: In a bowl, beat the egg well with a whisk, then whisk in the sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and lemon juice. Stir in the nuts. Spoon filling evenly into the prepared phyllo cups, being careful not to let the filling come up above the pastry. (They will appear about half full.) Bake in the bottom third of a 375 degree oven until the pastry is golden about 15 minutes. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely. Makes 12 tarts.
Note: I didn't spray the muffin tin before putting in the dough. I had a bit of a problem with several of them kind of sticking but that may have been from me trying to piece together some of the phyllo shells and some of the filling leaking out.