Maple Bacon Butter Tarts
These brown butter maple bacon butter tarts from Jennifer Emilson’s new cookbook The Lemon Apron Cookbook are fancy and deliciously sweet with a slight but of savoury goodness in each bite thanks to the crumbled bacon in them. Butter tarts are classically and purely Canadian and are like mini pecan pies minus the pecans. They are the perfect personal size treat and these ones have loads of flavour thanks to the brown butter, REAL Maple syrup, molasses and the crust holds up to all these flavours with a hearty blend of whole wheat and all purpose flour. None of Jen’s creations lack flavour or fun blends of ingredients - these are her signature butter tarts that she is so famous for and what better recipe to share with you from her book then these little beauties. Me and hubby are purist when it comes to butter tarts - that means no raisins, no pecans or nuts in our butter tarts please - but bacon - sure we will definitely take bacon in ours - Thanks Jen!!
About Jen’s Book The Lemon Apron
Ok so Jen’s book is special for more than one reason. Not only is it a compilation of the most unique and extensive worldly flavours and experiences Jen has tasted and had in her life, and travels but it’s also the first cookbook that my husband and I (mainly him - I just assisted) worked on. My job was assistant equipment holder, assistant sous chef, assistant stylist, cleanup and dish washer and we can’t forget taster - the best part!! It was a fun, intense and an unforgettable experience - I’m sure Jen would agree! Her book is a well rounded collection of recipes from her many sources of inspiration from living in Toronto, her German heritage, her travels around the world creating unique flavour combos she is so well known for. Her recipes are written well and as a story teller her book is full of interesting stories and experiences she has had related to each recipe. The book describes her recipes as approachable - I would say they are well written and with instructions that make her recipes approachable but you may have to search for some of the ingredients and spend a bit more time in the kitchen preparing food in new ways, but well worth the effort to include them in your pantry and to make her recipes over and over again. She is well travelled and exposed to many flavours from all over the world and well experienced in the kitchen and it shows - a true foodie! So if you are looking for a fun way to expand your kitchen abilities, flavour palate and also introduce some new spices to your pantry or spice cabinet this is definitely the book for you - or for anyone curious in the kitchen! It’s full of fresh new ideas and flavour combinations based on what is in season and I know you will love it and will want to make even single one of her recipes! And not to toot our own horn - but toot toot - the photos are stunning - it took a little time to get our groove and for Jen to come into her own style for the book but we got there eventually and all parties were quite happy in the end (Jen + us + editors). I learned a lot about writing cookbooks and vowed I would never do one… but then again it’s best never to say never cause you just never know! Grab your very own copy of The Lemon Apron Cookbook Here. I received this copy from Appetite By Random House and am so thrilled to be able to see our work come to life in this lovely book!!
Ingredients For These Maple Bacon Butter Tarts
For The Pastry
- All Purpose Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour: this adds a nice flavour and texture to the pastry
- Unsalted Butter
- Lemon Juice
For The Filling
- Bacon: Avoid thick-cut or high-sodium bacon.
- Dark Bown Sugar
- Maple Syrup: Do not use any substitutes for the maple syrup–pure maple syrup is key for the best maple flavours
- Fancy Molasses: Avoid blackstrap molasses-it will be bitter.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Flaky Sea Salt: for sprinkling
- Vanilla Extract: I added vanilla to the recipe because I love the flavour it adds but you can substitute it with bourbon for a maple bacon bourbon spin on these - or omit for original recipe
How To Make Brown Butter Maple Bacon Butter Tarts
MAKE PASTRY: Toss the dry ingredients together then cut in the butter and drizzle over wet ingredients and work the dough with your hands until it comes together. Form into ball then flatten into disc and cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. (this can be made ahead and chilled for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months)
ROLL & CUT DOUGH: Roll pasty dough out then use round cutters to cut pastry shells, place rounds into prepared muffins tins - chill while cooking bacon and making filling
COOK BACON: Cook bacon and place on paper towel lined plate, allow to cool then chop or crumble and set aside
BROWN BUTTER: This is optional but adds so much flavour to the filling and it really only takes a few extra minutes to do - simply melt butter in pan and continue cooking it until it’s browned and nutty in aroma
MAKE FILLING: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt until very smooth. Add the cooled brown butter, the maple syrup, molasses, and vinegar, stir in the crumbled bacon.
ASSEMBLE & BAKE: Fill the pastry tart shells two-thirds full with this mixture. Bake the butter tarts until the filling is bubbling and the crusts are golden, about 20 to 22 minutes. Cool then enjoy!
Make Ahead, Storage & Freezing
- MAKE AHEAD: BACON can cooked, cooled and crumbled and stored in an airtight container up to 3 days in advance. The DOUGH can be made in advance and keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days and frozen, for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
- STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- FREEZING: Wrap cooled butter tarts individually in plastic wrap and freeze in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Thaw and enjoy.
More Recipes You Will Love:
- 1 cup + 1 Tbsp (165 g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (105 g) whole wheat flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 oz (I15 g) frozen or chilled butter (1 stick)
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3-4 slices bacon
- ¼ cup butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼-½ tsp salt (depending on the saltiness of your bacon)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added vanilla but a splash of bourbon would be great here too)
- 1 tablespoon fancy molasses
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Flakey finishing salt
For the Pastry
- Whisk together the flours and salt in a bowl.
- Quickly grate the butter into the bowl to keep it cold. Toss to coat the butter in flour mixture and distribute it evenly throughout.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and lemon juice. Drizzle this mixture over the flour-butter mixture and toss to evenly distribute the liquid.
- Using your hands, fold the mixture together until a rough ball forms. If it isn’t coming together, add 1 more tablespoon of cold water
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and continue to quickly bring the dough together. Pat it down and shape it into a disk/disc, wrap in plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or over-night. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature.
- Spray or grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll the disk out to ⅙ inch.
- Using a 4-inch cookie cutter, create 7 to 8 rounds. Set the scraps aside. Using your rolling pin, starting at the edges, gently roll each round out to a 5-inch circle about ⅛ inch thick, but keeping it a little thicker in the middle. Don’t roll it any thinner. The pastry needs to hold the weight of the filling once baked, and the thicker middle will help create stability.
- Take each round and gently create folds or pleats as you place them into the cups of the muffin tin. Let them sink into the cups, ensuring the sides are as high as or slightly higher than the muffin tin. Pleat the edges, they shouldn’t look perfect–their imperfection is part of their charm. Collect the scraps of dough, roll them out, and then let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before cutting the rest and proceeding as above. Chill the muffin tin in the fridge while you work on the filling.
For the Filling
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- COOK BACON: Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and pat dry. Once cool to the touch, crumble into small pieces. You will need ½ cup of crumbled bacon for this recipe. Store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. (Bacon can be cooked in advance and stored in airtight container)
- BROWN BUTTER: Place the butter in a small pot over medium heat, stirring regu-larly. The butter will start to foam and become light tan. Continue to cook until the butter is toasty brown with solid bits on the bottom of the pan and has a fragrant nutty aroma, about 5 to 8 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat. Transfer the browned butter to a clean bowl and let cool at room temperature.
- MIX FILLING: In a bowl and using a handheld mixer or a whisk, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until very smooth. Add the cooled brown butter, the maple syrup, molasses, and vinegar. Beat or whisk vigorously for 2 minutes to combine. Gently stir in the crumbled bacon. Fill the pastry shells two-thirds full with this mixture.
- BAKE: Bake the butter tarts until the filling is bubbling and the crusts are golden, about 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the muffin tin to a cooling rack and sprinkle each tart with finishing salt. Cool in the muffin tin for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the tin to finish cooling, ideally using a small offset spatula to gently loosen and lift them out.
Jen’s Recipe Notes
- Avoid thick-cut or high-sodium bacon. The bacon can be cooked in advance and stored in the fridge. Do not use any substitutes for the maple syrup–pure maple syrup is key!
- Avoid blackstrap molasses-it will be bitter.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Thaw and enjoy.