When growing up I remember following my dad and brothers around carrying a bucket I was given to one maple tree, then another and another. I would watch them tap into the tree and set up all the lines. It fascinated me as I stood there watching the sap drip, drip, drip into the bucket. And then early in the morning, right before school, I would run outside on the heels of my brother to check on the sap buckets. Often those buckets would be overflowing and we would have to haul them up the big hill to our house! It was exciting more than it was work. In the kitchen, which was attached to the dining room where momma also schooled us kids, the stove would constantly be on. The sap that filled our huge stock pot would boil and boil throughout the day and turn the whole room into a sauna! lol Yea, I was guilty of drawing pictures in the condensation that coated the windows… part of art class of course. ;) I could tell that the syrup was close to bottling up when I could start smelling its sweetness waft through the house. There is nothing like the taste of pure maple syrup! With a nod to those sweet memories, I wanted to make a dessert that could capture that special taste and sweetness, and these maple tartlets that I playfully call sappy sweet tarts could not be more perfect. So, so, so good!
Sappy Sweet Tarts: Maple Syrup Tartlets
For the Pastry Base:
- 2 sticks cold butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Maple syrup
- 1 stick softened butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- To make the pastry cut the cold butter into the flour and then add milk until a dough is formed. Form dough into a ball and place in freezer while you begin work on the filling.
- Beat together the softened butter, brown sugar, flour, and baking powder until thoroughly combined and crumbly. Add the vanilla, eggs, and milk and beat until thoroughly combined and the consitsency of oatmeal.
- Grease two shallow muffin tins with shortening.
- Take dough out of freezer and roll out very thinly on a lightly floured surface. Use a pastry cutter or pizza cutter and cut out large enough circles to fit your muffin tins. Four-inch diameter circles worked for me. They don't have to be perfectly round! Keep rolling out dough and cutting circles until all the dough has been used up.
- Pour a dash of maple syrup (about a teaspoon) in each tart and then evenly distrubute the filling into each tart.
- Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until filling is golden. Tastes heavenly when served warm!