A few Fridays ago, we caught an early show of The Fighter. It was an especially busy day at work, so I left the house on the fly, which meant (a) an awkward half-walk/half-run—a scurry, as we used to say in university—to the bus stop; and (b) no smuggled snacks in my purse.

Fortunately, I have a memory like an elephant when it comes to sweets and where to find them. So as I drew back the door to the International Village (home of Tinseltown Theatre) 10 minutes before showtime, I had one thing on the brain: tarts. Our friend P. had mentioned his unexpected discovery of a particularly fine butter tart there at least a year go, but this was my first time visiting the theatre since. Jogging up the escalator stairs, I urgently scanned the perimeter for my husband—and the butter tart stand (not necessarily in that order).

I spotted R. easily enough in the ticket line, but the tart booth was proving coy. When he reached into his shoulder bag to reveal the familiar crinkly red and white stripes of Hawkins Cheezies (family size, no less), I declared him a saint and reluctantly abandoned my pastry search in favour of a good seat.

The next afternoon, though, I got to work in the kitchen. Like I said, memory like an elephant.

Butter Tarts
3/4 packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup (or, in my case, Roger's Golden Cane Syrup)
1 egg
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup dark raisins

1 batch of your favourite pastry
12 pre-made tart shells

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla and vinegar until blended. Set aside.

If you're making your own tart shells, roll out the pastry until it's 1/8-inch thick. Use 4-inch round cookie cutters to cut out 12 circles, re-rolling the scraps if necessary. Carefully press each circle into 1 cup of a 12-cup muffin tin.

Divide the raisins evenly among the 12 cups, followed by the filling. It may seem as though there's not enough liquid in each tart, but the filling will bubble up as it heats. You may even want to put the muffin tin (and will definitely want to put the pre-made tart shells) on a cookie sheet to save your oven from any spillover.

Bake until the pastry is golden and the filling is puffed and bubbly (12-15 minutes). Let the tarts cool in the pan for 1 minute, before carefully loosening them with a dinner knife and moving them to a rack to cool completely.

Yields 12 tarts.

Source: Canadian Living.

Notes: I like my butter tarts less runny, more goopy, with lots of raisins and sans nuts, which is reflected in the instructions I've typed out above. The original Canadian Living recipe, however, offers variations to suit every taste.

Marginally related notes: My online Cheezie research led me to this, which linked to this, which made me wonder (a) if superior cheese snack combustibility is a worthy source of national pride; and (b) what it means for my combustibility if I just consumed a multi-serving bag in one sitting. Eeek.

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