Butter me up!
January 13, 2018 5:03 PM   Subscribe

 
The butter tart is celebrated in its homeland, where the preference for runny or firm fillings, plain or with raisins, is a matter of passionate national debate.
Firm, no raisins. Anyone who tells you otherwise is incorrect.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:06 PM on January 13 [25 favorites]


Don't know about tarts but I still have incredible memories of petit fours at the BonTon in Vancouver, rather longer ago than I'll admit, but just wonderful. The just placed a beautiful array on a raised platter in the middle and I guess counted the remaining to tally at the end. Spoiled me for just about any treat, few fancy bakeries come anywhere close.
posted by sammyo at 5:15 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


“Good butter tarts, they seem like a modest dessert,” said Michael DeForge, a creator of TartQuest, an Instagram feed of butter tart reviews.

Wait, wait, not celebrated cartoonist Michael DeForge? Oh, possibly.
posted by rodlymight at 5:16 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


i will never understand what kind of MONSTER thought putting raisins in would be a good idea
posted by halation at 5:19 PM on January 13 [21 favorites]


with currants

No. No no no no.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:19 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]


I mean this sounds great and maybe I'll make some tomorrow, but is this that far off from pecan pie?
posted by tocts at 5:20 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


will never understand what kind of MONSTER thought putting raisins in would be a good idea


My mother, and I will fucking fight you.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:23 PM on January 13 [18 favorites]


rodlymight Wait, wait, not celebrated cartoonist Michael DeForge? Oh, possibly.

Just checked that tartquest Instagram you linked to:

I had the honour of being one of the butter tart judges at this year’s Royal Winter Fair! It was a lot of pastry to get through - a little over 30 in total.

Overall, I was impressed by the crazy ambition of some of these tarts. Not all of it worked, of course. Notable flavours in the “Special Ingredients” category included guava, banana foster, smoked salmon, lavender and Nanaimo bar. Some of those flavours will stay with me until the day I die. For better or worse.


I think raisins and currants are the least of our problems here, folks.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:26 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


i will never understand what kind of MONSTER thought putting raisins in would be a good idea

Raisinist.
posted by orange swan at 5:27 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


Butter tart, butter smart.

This begs a more important question: PUH-Khan? or Pea-can?

Answer: As a former Texan, I'll tell you that pea-can is the right answer and I will fucking fight you over that.
posted by Fizz at 5:28 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I think raisins and currants are the least of our problems here, folks

honestly i'd tackle any of the above-listed flavours before raisins, smoked salmon included
posted by halation at 5:28 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Huh- apparently raisins in butter tarts is the thing I decided to use my 8000th comment for.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:29 PM on January 13 [18 favorites]


It seems like butter tarts occupy some spot in the continuum between gooey butter cake and pecan pie. I want one.

As a Missourian, I can tell you, it's puh-kahn.
posted by limeonaire at 5:30 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I think raisins and currants are the least of our problems here, folks.

Perhaps you have not not been keeping up on currant events.

I will show myself out, thank you.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:31 PM on January 13 [10 favorites]


I imagine the NYT has never heard of a sugar cream pie either.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:31 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I call error. After years out west, I specifically went to Don's bakery, and while tasty, they were not the way I remembered them. However, I had a soft buttertart nearby (maybe in Gravenhurst?) and it was like the Platonic ideal of a butter tart.
Excuse me, I'm going to see if I have enough butter to make some tarts.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 5:32 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


However you pronounce pecan, as long as you're using molasses, and not just karo corn syrup, I'm fine with it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:32 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I...just assumed these were everywhere. They're delicious.

Have people really never heard of these?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 5:33 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Original Gooey Butter Cake
posted by bukvich at 5:34 PM on January 13


Original Gooey Butter Cake

Warning: autoplay Paula Deen.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:36 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


We don't have them in the States, Orange Pamplemousse.

I've had them when in Canada, and...they're fine? Tasty, not something I've been pining after ever since.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:37 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Huh, count me as another who always assumed these were available everywhere. Like, that they were the base dessert in which people once tossed pecans in, thus making pecan pie, etc.. It just seemed so obvious.

(no raisins please)
posted by btfreek at 5:37 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I mean this sounds great and maybe I'll make some tomorrow, but is this that far off from pecan pie?

Pretty much - think of it as a single-serving, slightly runnier chess pie and you'll be in the ballpark.

Wait, wait, not celebrated cartoonist Michael DeForge? Oh, possibly.

Yup. The TartQuest IG account is run by TWO celebrated cartoonists - DeForge and Jillian Tamaki.

My personal preferences - runny over firm (but not too runny), no raisins please and thank you but my southern childhood shines through because I prefer pecan butter tarts over plain. And my go-to bakery is Betty's on the road between Cobourg and Port Hope.
posted by thecjm at 5:37 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Mrs Dingle made them for Mike and Weed in For Better or For Worse.
posted by brujita at 5:46 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Also, how do you post an article on a "simple" food without any real recipe? Maybe some of Canada's barbaric southern neighbors might want to try making them?
posted by Samizdata at 5:47 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Firm with Raisins and Peacons, please.
Raisins have to be in there. IT's like they need to be in mincemeat.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:49 PM on January 13


There's a recipe link at the every end of the article. And, ya know, google.
posted by thecjm at 5:49 PM on January 13


"the Scottish border tart" I know there is a story in here somewhere.
posted by Oyéah at 5:51 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


> thecjm:
"There's a recipe link at the every end of the article. And, ya know, google."

No subscriptions for them! FAKE NEWS!
posted by Samizdata at 5:51 PM on January 13


I'm reading here and people are willing to fight over plain or raisins? Take a breath folks...

But then TheWhiteSkull suggests there are people who would use Karo syrup instead of molasses? MONSTERS!
posted by Marky at 5:54 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Doesn't matter anyway. Unless I can find a special someone who likes to bake, it's not happening. Might as well out myself on this one.

SAMIZDATA CAN'T BAKE!

Grill? Yeah.
Roast? Yeah.
Braise? Yup.
Broil. Certainly.
Bake? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
posted by Samizdata at 5:55 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


> There's a recipe link at the very end of the article.

I recently discovered the NYT will sometimes block access to recipes from mobile devices of nonsubscribers, even if the articles are accessible from the same devices. Dunno if that was a momentary bug or a new permanent policy.
posted by ardgedee at 5:55 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


raisins, and right on the boundary between runny & firm is where the butter tart ought to reside.
posted by lastobelus at 5:56 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I luff them
When I lived in Halifax I would get them in the crappy lunch tea whatever spot closest to my NSCAD studio and I don’t care that they were not the best they kept me happy.
The NYT has weirdly intense CanCon sometimes.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 5:56 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


As I had to inform my neighbor who moved to Texas from Detroit, a "pee-can" is something you take a leak in and definitely shouldn't be used for cooking...
posted by jim in austin at 5:57 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Goddamn it. First Nanaimos, then the Oreo thing, now this. If I find out you people are hiding any other delicious sweet things, we USians are going to use our many tanks for something useful finally and roll in and take it all.

And give back your disgusting poutine while we’re at it.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:01 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


> disgusting poutine

Wow, hell of a typo, dude.
posted by ardgedee at 6:02 PM on January 13 [22 favorites]


Also this has been bothering me since I read it two days ago and I have nowhere else to put these feelings so here goes:
on a Deadspin article about the weird beef the San Jose Sharks tried to start last week with the Jets about how Winnipeg is the coldest darkest city in the NHL, some jackass tried to make a joke about seeing a game in Moose Jaw in 1987 and packed in all the Canadian things they had ever heard of and NO SORRY there was no poutine in Alberta in 1987.

Get your dumb cliche joke comments right jeez

This bothered me so much I don’t even know, thank you for understanding. /derail
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:03 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


> Slarty Bartfast:
"Goddamn it. First Nanaimos, then the Oreo thing, now this. If I find out you people are hiding any other delicious sweet things, we USians are going to use our many tanks for something useful finally and roll in and take it all.

And give back your disgusting poutine while we’re at it."


How about no. Never got to try it and very much want to, so, if you make them take it all back, I won't get to try it. So, how about we make YOU take back YOUR disgusting comment?
posted by Samizdata at 6:05 PM on January 13


we USians are going to use our many tanks for something useful finally and roll in and take it all.


Go for it. Worked super well the last three times you tried it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:05 PM on January 13 [16 favorites]


Regarding raisin vs no raisin, I'm gonna introduce a whole pile of new factions. I live in Ottawa, where some folks swear by Frank's butter tarts. This fine emporium has a nice little photo of its offerings.

Yes, that's right. Maple Walnut. Chocolate. Lemon. Raspberry and Butterscotch.
posted by storybored at 6:08 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna introduce a whole pile of new factions.

Before you pick this hill to die on, a question:

Lard in the pastry or not?

Choose well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:10 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I’m a pie guy because, let’s face it, cake is just fancy bread. These tarts are just small pies. Pecan is my favorite, and my limited knowledge is that chess pie is just pecan without nuts. But this Maple Walnut you speak of.... you have my full attention.
posted by valkane at 6:12 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


smoked salmon, lavender and Nanaimo

Could all be in together, regional delicacy.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:13 PM on January 13


> Lard in the pastry or not?

For pie? Abso-fucking-lutely unless the guests have a dietary restriction against it.
For butter tarts? RESEARCH IS NEEDED. SEND ME SAMPLES. MANY SAMPLES.
posted by ardgedee at 6:13 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


>Lard in the pastry or not?

50% butter, 50% lard, buddy, or the catapults start firing.
posted by storybored at 6:18 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


While we're on non-traditional tarts, the bakery next door to the cardiologist's office offers a butter tart with chocolate pastry which is utterly scrumptious, so sweet and flaky and rich that it's difficult to stop at just one.

(The cardiologist is a marvellous fellow, despite the obvious cruelty of setting up his business right next to a bakery. You can see the tarts and cakes through the window when you're doing a stress test.)
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:19 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


At the risk of encouraging further heresies, I recently had some butter tarts that had chunks of Skor bars in them. They were fine, maybe less complimentary than raisin or pecan in my ranking, but totally fine. The basic butter tart is still tops with me, though. If you can’t get that right, there’s no point in bothering with the other shit. And if you do get that right? There’s no point in bothering with the other shit.
posted by rodlymight at 6:22 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I have a Canadian colleague, and so have encountered butter tarts (firm). At no point have these butter tarts had raisins. I do approve of raisin-less butter tarts, though.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:29 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Some people like raisins or currants added, some don’t. Does it really make any sense to get angry or otherwise work oneself into a lather—real or comedic—because some of the 7+ billion people on this planet have the unremitting gall prefer a variant dessert from your own choice? I don’t care for raisins or similar dried fruits in most my desserts, but if someone hands me one I’ll politely eat it. I mean, the Earth will continue to revolve around the Sun despite the raisins, and civilization will continue even if my chocolate chip cookies have walnuts, no? It’s not my preference to have nuts in cookies, but *shrug* you do you, you know? It was kind of you to offer me one; I'll do the grown-up thing and show a little grace.

And now back to your regularly scheduled ranting. It appears I’ve discovered a personal weakness, for I keep hopping onto this high horse far too easily. At least the view is good up here. But seriously, unclench people. Deep breath, you’ll feel better.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:30 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


> ardgedee:
"> Lard in the pastry or not?

For pie? Abso-fucking-lutely unless the guests have a dietary restriction against it.
For butter tarts? RESEARCH IS NEEDED. SEND ME SAMPLES. MANY SAMPLES."


To prevent bias issues, there will have to be an independent control. I suppose I can take one for the team. For everyone you send to Ardge, you need to send me one too. This is important - We don't want fake reviews.
posted by Samizdata at 6:34 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Lard.

Or do you want to pick a fight with three generations of skulls?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:35 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


RAISINS DO NOT BELONG IN THIS NOR DO CURRANTS THAT IS ALL

[not-raisinist]
posted by poffin boffin at 6:38 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Does it really make any sense to get angry or otherwise work oneself into a lather

are you new
posted by poffin boffin at 6:39 PM on January 13 [38 favorites]


Between this and the Timmies thread, I think we need to start a Canadianfilter tag.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:41 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


I grew up with a battered (in both senses) Five Roses Cookbook. I cooked my first cake, a white cake, from it. We were latch key kids with no parents around to ask so when I didn’t exactly know what shortening was I went with the can of lard. The cake was solid but delicious. I went on to divinity fudge, chocolate fudge, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies. My cakes got better. Butter tarts were my Grandma’s domain, always with raisins.

About 10 years ago I was thrilled to find the Five Roses Cookbook reissued and bought a copy. It is well thumbed at my house, especially because my son is quite the cook and sometimes likes to flip through the pages, rather than online recipes. The cakes, cookies, candies and quick breads sections are especially well used.

Side note: the Five Roses sign here in Montreal.
posted by Cuke at 6:42 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


Lard.

You have chosen wisely. I will instruct the ancestors on my mother's side to sheath the claymores and return to the moors.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:54 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


are you new

Er, no. So not new that I'm wondering—like in any family—we keep having the same goddam fight every chance we get. We're positively addicted to it. We keep hauling out the same tired jokes like at a family gathering, ones that we've all heard a billion times.

You like raisins. I don't. I like raisins. You don't. Whichever is true, who fuckin' cares? More to the point, WHY? That urge to form group identities—and to hell with those raisin-eating heathens—is the same core urge that leads to some really ugly places. I mean, I get the humorousness behind it all, but we've been making the same joke for the past 15 years. We're a clever bunch, we needs us some new jokes if we're gonna keep doing this.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:54 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


The dearly departed Granny Trouble and I stand firm on the raisin & currant side of the butter tart war.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:56 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I will instruct the ancestors on my mother's side to sheath the claymores and return to the moors.


Tell them to say hello to my great-great-aunt Mòrag.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:15 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Well this may be the only situation where I can say that my mother was the best mother...

She would always make one batch with, and one without, currants.

A true Canadian.
posted by mephisjo at 7:17 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]


My Canadian mom used to make these every Christmas. Half raisins, half without.

Now excuse me, I've got some baking to do.
posted by freakazoid at 7:19 PM on January 13


So I guess this is what Len were talking about in the intro to Steal My Sunshine.
posted by onya at 7:28 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


Firm but soft goop; if it’s runny or hard, you did it wrong. Absolutely no raisins, ever, ever, ever, in butter tarts or any other baked goods. Molasses? No. Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup in the big yellow bottle — it is known. Currants? Just throw those right in the garbage. The addition of pecans, while entirely acceptable (a marked improvement, even), immediately transforms a butter tart into a pecan tart, which is less ours. The United Empire Loyalists deliberately left all the pecans in the South, because they were haunted. Now let’s all drink a cool glass of turnip juice.

(Also, if you have ever encountered a Canadian, but think we don’t want people to know about butter tarts, then what you have met is an American in disguise. We never shut up about the goddamned butter tarts. Come up here and we will physically force them down your throat. I’m not even kidding. There are so, so many. Please, for the love of heck, take them.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:31 PM on January 13 [10 favorites]


Wait, has nobody linked to Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival?!? Inconceivable.
It includes the Buttertart Trot, which features tart stops during the race.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:38 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


The Butter Tart festival being in Midland always seemed a little weird. Butter Tarts central seemed to be the Kawarthas' thing and Midland is a pretty long paddle down the Trent-Severn waterway from there.

Seems there's a competing Butter Tart fest coming to Bowmanville in March (I started typing Belleville, which might make more sense, but no).
posted by thecjm at 7:56 PM on January 13


Reading this while eating a nanaimo bar I picked up at a hockey tournament bake sale and discussing how “a bag of pucks” can be used in so many ways to describe something, but none of them flattering (smart as a bag of pucks, pretty as a bag of pucks, useful as a bag of pucks). I didn’t grab any butter tarts but I’ll look for some tomorrow morning.
posted by furtive at 8:02 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I had completely forgotten the existence of butter tarts.

Dammit.

Now I'm going to have to clean the kitchen. I hope you people are happy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:06 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Raisins!
posted by Construction Concern at 8:14 PM on January 13


The best butter tarts are those ones you get at gas stations (at least in BC) that are the size of a robust muffin bottom, with a pale crust and a practically banana yellow filling.

TheWhiteSkull: "Go for it. Worked super well the last three times you tried it."

Though at this point if we burned down the Whitehouse it might provide a welcome distraction at the presidential level.
posted by Mitheral at 8:14 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Sadly my favourite recipe has been taken down from the website it was on, but it can still be found here (excuse the terrible formatting): http://www.pictame.com/media/1390136315118464287_2292141230
Easy and tasty, and raisins are optional as is tradition.
posted by PennD at 8:35 PM on January 13


a "pee-can" is something you take a leak in

No. A pee-can is a nut; to take a leak, the rest of us use toilets (indoor, that flush). Current Tarheel opinion.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:26 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


>Slarty Bartfast :
Goddamn it. First Nanaimos, then the Oreo thing, now this. If I find out you people are hiding any other delicious sweet things, we USians are going to use our many tanks for something useful finally and roll in and take it all.

Tarte au sucre. I don’t think we’re hiding it, exactly. But if you like butter tarts, you will love tarte au sucre.

(Also, count me on the “no raisins or currents in butter tarts” team because I’m not a cretin)
posted by Cyrie at 9:38 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I was just thinking that I needed to do something with my excess of brown sugar...
posted by tavella at 9:40 PM on January 13


Yes raisins but firm without is perfectly acceptable. If it wasn't for tourtière they would be Canada's greatest contribution to tasty eating.
posted by N-stoff at 9:50 PM on January 13


Ugh, that guy with the fancy gourmet butter tarts by Lake Rousseau, the ones with the extra/extra-runny tarts splooging massive fountains of mollases drool all over the car, to hell with him.
posted by ovvl at 10:01 PM on January 13


Foo, it appears that pre-made unbaked tart shells are not to be found around here, or so the plaint of Canadians stranded in Silicon Valley seems to be. Well, in quantities less than a couple of gross.
posted by tavella at 10:14 PM on January 13


I wish sweet pies were more of a thing in Australia. Butter tarts sound like a sweet version of Portuguese egg tarts and those things are AMAZING. Waaaaaant.
posted by divabat at 1:06 AM on January 14


I am so unspeakably let down that I only learned of this treat which I would totally love to try making... days after my oven gave up the ghost and died. It's like it's taunting me from beyond the grave (well, from inside the kitchen where it's still installed because seriously, how does an oven just up and die? COME BACK TO LIIIIIFE!). I would be happy to weigh in on this raisin or not controversy if only I could.
posted by sldownard at 2:05 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


These tarts are just small pies.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Quebec delicacy Sugar Pie. It's like a giant butter tart or a pecan pie without the pecans.

It's delicious but just thinking about it is making my teeth hurt.

On Edit: oh wait, it was mentioned above. Sorry. Need coffee.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:10 AM on January 14


Eh, butter tarts are overrated. Portuguese Pastel de Natas are where it's at. When freshly baked, so the crust is still flaking, and with half the sugar in the custard filling... mmmmmmjargharghl

And just as Canadian, if you ask me (you didn't, but)
posted by anthill at 3:49 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Butter tarts are so Canadian that Canadians were appalled that I had never heard of them until I moved here. I’m indifferent, tbh, but I do like Nanaimo bars a lot.

Also, raisins are the Devil.
posted by Kitteh at 4:18 AM on January 14


Firm no raisins anything else is a heresy
posted by disclaimer at 4:31 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Hmm, now I know what I'm doing today... I don't actually know of a bakery that sells butter tarts in Newfoundland... Yet.
posted by peppermind at 4:33 AM on January 14


Slightly runny. Raisins. And the crust! No mass, factory produced crust. It must be hand made and hand folded into the shell, so that there is a visible bulge where the crusts overlap. The top of the tart should be slightly caramelized.

On this, the entire MacWilliams family stand united.

And my experience tells me that the tarts at Don's have deteriorated markedly since I ate them in the late 60's. The ones at The Bakery in Gravenhurst are way better.
posted by Pablo MacWilliams at 5:19 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Butter tarts sound like a sweet version of Portuguese egg tarts

Both are great, but they're not really similar.

Starbucks now has butter tarts. They're not bad, but I think the pastry/filling ratio is off. I prefer a smaller, deeper tart with runny filling whereas there version is broad and shallow.

If dealing with tart shells is challenging, butter tart squares are a pretty good substitute.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:33 AM on January 14


Nanaimo Bars are the best dessert/treat Canada have graciously gifted the world and Nanaimo bars are the best treat in the world and how the fuck does a thing with raisins in it even try to step up on Nanaimo bars like that? Like. Jzt, don’t even.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:46 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


I tried a Starbucks butter tart yesterday... no raisins, and the shell was almost crisp, kinda like a sugar cookie.
I'm pro-raisins, grew up eating the pink box Flamingo brand from the grocery store.
And Franks's butter tarts in Ottawa are amazing.
posted by oddphantom at 7:00 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


The best butter tarts I've ever had (so far) were from the Little Tub Bakery in Tobermory.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:06 AM on January 14


Nainamo bars and butter tarts (no raisins are you all MAD) are very different but both are delicious.

Does it really make any sense to get angry or otherwise work oneself into a lather—real or comedic—because some of the 7+ billion people on this planet have the unremitting gall prefer a variant dessert from your own choice?

Yes, that is, after cat pictures, the main point of the internet. Where have you been for the last twenty years?
posted by jeather at 7:37 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


My mother, and I will fucking fight you.

*drops oven mitts*
posted by pykrete jungle at 7:37 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


raisins pollute my butter tarts - so hard to find raisin-free - but raisins make them TOO sweet.
posted by jb at 8:15 AM on January 14


Third generation Texan. It's "puh-kahn".

But a bad Texan, because I don't like pecans.

Might like butter tarts, though, with no raisins.
posted by emjaybee at 8:22 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Huh. Can't remember the last time I had a "tutter bart" as they were known in my family but always thought/assumed raisins were a fundamental ingredient.
posted by raider at 8:59 AM on January 14


As a Torontonian living across the border in Buffalo, I am shocked that Wegmans, that fount of all things wondrously grocatorial, does not have butter tarts. Goddamit.

No raisins. This is not a factional divide, it's simply right vs. wrong. There is nothing worse than biting into a delicious firm butter tart and encountering the horror of a squished bug, nothing worse that is, unless the bug turns out to be a raisin.
posted by biscotti at 9:25 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


I've resented raisins ever since they turned out not to be the chocolate chips I had expected. Raisins = betrayal.
posted by srboisvert at 9:26 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


Is this actually any different from shoofly pie, ie crack pie, ie pecan pie sans pecans?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:44 AM on January 14


Yum.
posted by chapps at 10:08 AM on January 14


Nanaimo Bars are the best dessert/treat Canada have graciously gifted the world

On a visit to Vancouver Island a couple years ago, I ate a Nanaimo bar while in a bar in Nanaimo. It was all I dreamed.

And I have quibbles with raisins at a conceptual level: every raisin is the withered and dessicated corpse of a grape that once aspired to be wine.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:19 PM on January 14


Is this actually any different from shoofly pie, ie crack pie, ie pecan pie sans pecans?

Aside from not being a pie, you mean?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:26 PM on January 14


A tart is just a tiny pie with pretensions
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:38 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Funeral pie is an old name for a raisin butter tart or pie. The reason for that is that people die regardless of the season or what is in the larder, so when you had to bake something for the funeral reception the only fruit guaranteed to be available was raisins.

Speaking as a Canadian I find it hard to believe that the butter tart is particularly Canadian. It's just the local variation of the chess pie or the flan creme brule or the English treacle tart.

I vote for raisins and a filling that has not completely set...
posted by Jane the Brown at 1:24 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


You had me at "butter", and also again at "tart", and a third and fourth time at "runny" and "firm".
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:03 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


There is a theory that butter tarts are pecan pie brought North on the Underground Railroad. Seems to me that everywhere that you have butter, sugar, and eggs, you get some kind of pie filling. Sugar Pie is best with maple sugar/syrup. Otherwise: lard, raisins, firm, not runny. And what is all this molasses business? Not in a butter tart!
posted by CCBC at 4:39 PM on January 14


Wait, you mean pecan pie without pecans is actually a thing that exists? Why the hell has nobody ever told me about these things before? I grew up one state line away from Canada, for God's sake.
posted by huimangm at 7:24 PM on January 14


> turbid dahlia:
"You had me at "butter", and also again at "tart", and a third and fourth time at "runny" and "firm"."

Look, now, that seems more like a lifestyle choice and less a food choice.
posted by Samizdata at 7:56 PM on January 14


Coming a little late to this...

Every small town seems to have a Butter Tart festival or a butter tart trail to boost local tourism now. I like butter tarts fine (I prefer tarte au sucre / sugar pie) but the thing about them in Canada is that they are remarkably uneven. I've gotten many great ones (its gotta be lard in the pastry - I'm fine with whatever ratio) but they are so much in the minority. For every great one I think I've had at least half dozen mediocre to poor ones. As a bit of a disclosure, I contemplated entering the butter tart contest last year but my work schedule did not permit it (but I totally could have smoked those grannies at the Erin Fall Fair). As far as Canadian sweet delicacies unknown to the rest of the world go, this is my favorite Pets de Soeurs... Even the crappiest ones are awesome (unlike its distant relative the cinnamon bun).

And give back your disgusting poutine while we’re at it.
We will take it back when you start making it correctly. It is only disgusting because it is made poorly. The rest of Canada makes it badly too but that's a different conversation.

Winnipeg is the coldest darkest city in the NHL
Have they been to Winnipeg? Yeah it is cold (a dry cold by the way) but it is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. I think winter is always more endurable when you have sun. Want a miserable dark & damp winter? Go to Vancouver or Toronto.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:08 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I am currently visiting my mom in Winnipeg and I ate a butter tart she made for my visit just minutes ago, it was incredibly delicious. And I just got off the phone with my sister, we were discussing how I can cobble together enough warm clothes to go to see some kind of ice sculpture exhibition tonight where we will be outdoors during what is now an "Extreme Cold Advisory". Haha. Winnipeggers, we of course would not think of not going. Long johns, snow pants, two puffer coats one on top of each other, hat, two scarves (upper and lower face).

For lunch, we are heading over to Costco because supposedly they have the best poutine. After, we will go to the Liquor Control Commission and I will buy my mother a budgetary box of wine, because, hey, this is Winnipeg and being cheap is a virtue and matter of pride. After, we will go to Shoppers Drug Mart where I will buy things I cannot get in the US, including Hawkin's Cheezies and decent dental floss in the big containers you can get here.
posted by nanook at 8:40 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Want a miserable dark & damp winter? Go to Vancouver or Toronto

"Residents of Toronto and Montreal like to argue about who has the worse winter, but there is only one factual answer." Habs beat out the Leafs and the Jets for Worst NHL Winter (tho they might tie with the Senators, but Montreal tends to be windier and therefore more bone-chilling).
posted by halation at 9:54 AM on January 15


Have they been to Winnipeg? Yeah it is cold (a dry cold by the way) but it is one of the sunniest cities in Canada.

Sure, for eight hours a day followed by sixteen hours of darkness. Hard pass. NYC is bad enough.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:58 AM on January 15


showbiz_liz: for eight hours a day followed by sixteen hours of darkness.

8 to 10 hours over the winter with the majority of those being sunny and dry. A lot of wintry places can't say the same. Sure 16 hours of darkness is hard but that's why you spend it with friends, family and hobbies. Or in the darkness no one can see you eat your dozen discounted grocery store butter tarts in one sitting as you binge watch Letterkenny. Or so I hear.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:35 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


for eight hours a day followed by sixteen hours of darkness

Luxury. Edmonton barely gets seven hours of sunlight a day in late December. We used to walk to and from school in the dark. The sun was something we got to see at recess, if our efforts to intentionally get detention just to stay out of the bitter cold had proven futile.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:50 PM on February 10


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