Of all the contradictory recipes out there, butter tarts, the traditional Canadian treat, are the most confusing. You’d think there’s nothing to it: little pastry cases filled with butter and sugar mixture. And yet, and yet – the variety of the filling making methods makes the mind boggle.
Just brown sugar. No – a mix of sugar and maple syrup. Butter must be melted. Only softened butter! Start with butter and sugar. Elsewhere – butter gets added at the end. Don’t use a mixer, all done by hand. No, no, no: beat the ingredients in a standing mixer! One egg. Two eggs. Four eggs for God’s sake!
And obviously each of those recipe authors claims theirs is the ONLY authentic and the very best one.
That’s the problem with authentic, traditional dishes: there’s not just one template for them unless it’s kefir or Epoisses de Bourgogne AOC. Depending on the region, area or household there will be variants developed because those folk there like the dish done in the particular way and no other. The differences occur also in recipes that go back a long time, thanks to unavoidable distortions or betterments introduced along the lifetime of the dish. Just take scones: so many recipes that they only have flour in common.
I’d like to try out another, slightly different recipe for these as I’m a huge fan of butter tarts. Or even better: go around Canada tasting butter tarts; how about that, eh?