Canadians love butter tarts. They are right up there with hockey, maple syrup, poutine, and Tim Horton’s double doubles (that’s a coffee chain cup of coffee with double cream and double sugar!) There is something pleasantly cloying about the raisins or pecans trapped in buttery ooziness trapped in flakey pastry that makes some Canadian tummies do summersaults of joy. Every bakery or home has a family recipe. And everyone has an opinion on what should go inside. Some insist that the filling should remain pristine, nothing to chew or crunch should invade it. Others will cry foul if raisins are not found inside. Then there is the camp that feels the butter tart is not complete without nuts of some sort. No matter your preference, you will find one to your liking. There are entire FaceBook conversations on this subject by people from across our vast country. It’s probably best that these conversations remain of FB, or else someone might lose an eye!
When I was reading through Tara O’Brady’s Seven Spoons (a fellow Canuck from Ontario) and discovered that she had a recipe for a Walnut Cherry Oat Butter Tart Pie, I swooned. If a butter tart and a pecan pie had a baby, it would be THIS PIE. I think you now see why we feel so strongly about this little pastry here in Canada!
And while the season for the butter tart should be only months with a vowel in the name, the ingredients for this pie just lend it to the Autumn Harvest time. Don’t ask me why. Just cuz. There is just something so cozy, rich, and inviting about this pie. Just from the title, you can see that it is jam-packed with goodness. Make this pie, add some ice cream or whipped cream, light a fire, and think of us up here in Canada. It may be getting colder, but this pie will warm you right up.
WALNUT CHERRY OAT BUTTER TART PIE
- 1 disk Perfect Pie Crust dough (see Recipe Index)
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (215 g) packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs , plus 1 yolk
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) dark corn syrup or pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp malt vinegar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cup (140 g) walnut halves, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup (50 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cup (80 g) dried cherries
- sugar for sprinkling
- Whipping cream to serve
Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C) with rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out the pie dough to a 12" (30.5 cm) circle on floured surface. Gently fit into the 9" pie plate, folding the overhang under itself at the rim to form a nice, high edge. The crust will need to accommodate a generous amount of filling, so keep that in mind. Crimp or decorate as you wish then pop into the freezer for 10 minutes.
Place the pie shell on the prepared baking sheet, and prick the pastry all over with a fork. Line the pastry with a 12" foil circle, pressing it gently into all the corners, bottom edge. Bake for 15 minutes, watching and pushing down any bubbles as they rise gently with a wooden spoon. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more, till it is opaque and dry in places. Remove and brush a thin coating of the egg white all over to create a seal. Set rest of the egg white aside. Return the crust to the oven and bake for 1 minute more. Set aside while you work on the filling.
Lower the temp to 325 F (165 C)
In a med large saucepan over med-low heat, melt the butter. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Briskly beat in the eggs and yolk, then the corn syrup, vanilla, vinegar and salt. Return to the stove and warm over low heat until the mixture has loosened and is not as gritty as it was to start, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and fold in the nuts and oats.
Take the remaining egg white and brush along edge of crust. Sprinkle sugar generously all over the edge. Scatter the cherries all over the bottom of the crust. And then pour the filling over the cherries.
Bake until gelled, slightly springy at the centre and with only the faintest wobble, 55-60 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack and cool for at least 3 hours. For it to set properly, the filling needs to cool completely. Serve at room temperature or rewarmed in the oven.
This pie can be made up to 2 days in advance, kept covered and chilled. The richness of this pie welcomes a mound of whipped cream, spiked with a little bourbon if so desired!
Adapted from Tara O'Brady, Seven Spoon Cookbook