I know that most people are advised to not try new recipes while entertaining but I always find its the perfect opportunity to try something new and get a cross-section of feedback. So although the following tart recipe didn't look the prettiest as the filling had caved in quite dramatically after being cooled, guests seemed to really enjoy this treat. I'll have to work on getting it to retain its shape in the future :)
Rum Butter Tarts with Toasted Pecans
LCBO Spring 2007 Issue
By: Marilyn Bentz Crowley
1¼ cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
¼ cup (50 mL) cold butter
2 tbsp (25 mL) cold lard or shortening
½ tsp (2 mL) lemon juice
2 to 3 tbsp (20 to 45 mL) ice cold water
½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) corn syrup
2 tbsp (25 mL) dark rum (I used regular white rum)
½ tsp (2 mL) pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (50 mL) melted butter
¼ cup (50 mL) coarsely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
1. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter and lard until butter pieces are about the size of small peas. Stir lemon juice into 2 tbsp (25 mL) water. Stir into flour mixture, adding up to 1 tbsp (15 mL) more water if needed to just moisten. Press together to form a ball of dough; then flatten, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Coat cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan generously with cooking spray or lightly butter. Roll out pastry until thinner than usual for pie crust, about 1/8-inch (0.5-cm) thick. Use a 3-inch (8- cm) cookie cutter (or upturned glass) to cut into rounds. Press into cups forcing dough two-thirds to three-quarters up sides. Use scraps to fill in any breaks, low sides or thin parts. Freeze 10 minutes while making filling.
3. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
4. Beat egg lightly with a fork. Gradually add brown sugar, corn syrup, rum, vanilla and melted butter. Stir until smooth. Divide ¼ cup (50 mL) nuts among homemade shells or ½ cup (125 mL) among frozen purchased shells; spoon in filling. Bake 15 minutes or until filling is bubbly and browned. Cool in pans on racks; then run a knife around edges of tarts. Remove tarts from pans. Covered tarts keep for a day or 2 at room temperature and freeze well.
Makes 12 tarts
Note: I was pressed for time, so for the pastry I purchased frozen sweetened tart shells and then proceeded directly to step 3.