By: Megan Sutton, Educator – Crawford Lake & Mountsberg Conservation Areas
When you think of Canadian food, several of the recipes that come to mind include maple syrup. Maple candy, maple glazed salmon, and of course, butter tarts. The history behind butter tarts is a little uncertain, but everyone knows they are a Canadian tradition, just like the upcoming March Break.
Today, as families prepare for a week off of school, many plan family outings or vacations. However, the tradition actually started to give children time off from school to help out in the family sugar bush gathering sap and making maple syrup. While most families no longer own sugar bushes, March Break is still the perfect time to celebrate maple syrup! The sap is flowing at Mountsberg’s Maple Town, the evaporator is fired up, and we are anxiously awaiting the first batch of fresh maple syrup of the 2015 season. You can honour the heritage of March Break by bringing the kids to a local sugar bush this coming week to see the sap flow. Then head home and use your maple syrup to create these delicious maple butter tarts!
Butter tarts may seem like a fiddly recipe, but you can easily whip them up without any special equipment or know how. (Recipe adapted from Canadian Living)
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup cubed butter, cold
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar
1/8 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 375°
- In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add cubes of butter and mix with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Add water as needed until dough sticks together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
- Next, mix together butter and sugar. Then add eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
- Remove dough from fridge and roll out. Using a cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut into 3 ½ inch circles. Place in greased muffin tin. Add filling until the tarts are full. You should have around 12 butter tarts, or one full muffin tin.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Stay tuned to this blog for more maple recipes to come throughout the month of March. For more information on how to enjoy Maple Season in our Halton Parks look for Mountsberg’s Maple Town and Crawford Lake’s Sweetwater Season.