Butter Tart Taste Test in Burlington, Ontario
I am not sure there is anything more classic, nostalgic or sinfully sweet as a good ol’ fashioned butter tart. Perhaps one of the tastiest things about butter tarts is that no two are alike; some have raisins, walnuts or pecans, some are drippy, velvety or firm, and they can be flakey, doughey or even crunchy. It really is a matter of preference! The only way you can really find out what the BEST butter tart is, is to try a whole bunch of them! What a superb idea – have yourself a little butter tart taste test right at home! This may have been the best idea I have ever had.
The idea came to me while trying to think of something simple and fun to do for my partner on his birthday – “no birthday cake” and “no ice cream cake” he said (ugh, I thought, everyone needs a birthday sugar fix!). While I know he was trying to avoid sweets all together, I also knew he had an undeniable weakness for a good butter tart, and who doesn’t really? So I decided I would get a whack of locally made butter tarts and have a little taste test in lieu of some other mediocre dessert.
I did a search for all the bake shops I could find within the city limits and began calling – “do you sell butter tarts?” “do you make butter tarts?” “do you have any butter tarts?!” Then I headed out with my list and drove the city like a truly mad lady buying butter tarts. I went to a number of places without success, but was happy to finish up with six different varieties – all completely different, beautiful and obviously delicious in their own way. Three came from independent bakeries, two were from the farmers market and one was an outsourced product at a local Dutch shop.
I stored the butter tarts in a plastic container to keep them fresh and created small labels for the bottoms to note where they came from – I didn’t want our taste buds to be influenced by the bakery name, whether familiar or foreign. And then the hard part – living in a house with six hidden butter tarts and NOT eating them. Trust me, there were many times I wondered to myself, ‘you know, if he only tasted five, he wouldn’t know the difference’… fortunately, I stayed strong!
When I revealed the surprise on the big day I received the expected reaction of someone who knows they are going to get diabetes in about 5 minute, “oh man, I was trying to be good today… so let’s eat these now”. Not so surprisingly, the butter tart taste test was very well received, indeed.
When it came to the actual taste test, we didn’t do anything special – we shared each butter tart and made simple notes about our flavour experience, noting what we liked and what we didn’t – and really they were oh so different!
So here they are, the delicious butter tarts in our little taste test competition, as they appear in order from our favourite to least favourite! You can do this at home too – just do a little research, do a little running around and you’ve got yourself a butter tart tasting! Enjoy :)
The Butter Tarts of Burlington Ontario
1) "The Clover Love" Butter Tart – Farmers Market Guy (will get farm name)
Beautiful and delicious, this butter tart really has it all! It is chocked full of pecans, has a lovely maple flavour and the crust was soft, flakey and amazing! And did you see how pretty and clover shaped it is?! Yum yum, this is the winner!
2) "The Smoother than Butter" Butter Tart – Clarksdale Bakery
This tart may not look like anything special, but was definitely one of the best ! The centre was smooth, rich and buttery, and the crust was soft and doughy – can I have another one please? The sprinkling of pecans on the top added a nice crunch – they also offer the plain butter tart and with raisins. This butter tart makes me happy to know this bakery is just around the corner!
3) "The Drippy Mess" Butter Tart – Farmers Market Lady (will get farm name)
Oh gosh, one bite of this tart and you will be glad you can only purchase a package of 6! This delicious homemade butter tart is runny, drippy and amazing! You will literally lick the plate clean. It also definitely has a flavour that is reminiscent of salted caramel. While on the sweet side, this butter tart is baked to perfection and is sure to be a hit.
4) "The Hefty Honker" Butter Tart – The Dutch Shop
Another large butter tart with a smooth and rich filling, however, the crust is heavy and on the bland side. Definitely tasty, but nothing overly memorable.
5) "The Glossy Monster" Butter Tart – Cakes, Sweets and Treats
This was the heartiest butter tart of them all; practically double the size of its counterparts. Not too sweet, but a little heavy on the crust. I found the consistency to be on the gelatinous side, and I did not care for the raisins – unfortunately the bakery did not sell raison-less butter tarts.
6) "The Raisin King" Butter Tart – Eastway Bakery
This one looks like it was baked perfectly, sadly, I was a bit disappointed by this one – so many raisins! Too many raisins in fact and not enough tasty filling. Will have to give them a shot and get a different kind next time!