In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process
until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse
meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream,
through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If
necessary, add more water.
Turn the dough onto your
work surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic
wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.
After the dough has chilled sufficiently,
place on a lightly floured
surface, roll out the dough and cut into 12 - 4 inch (10 cm) rounds. (To prevent the
pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep
lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from
the center of the pastry outwards).) Gently place the rounds into a 12-cup muffin
tin. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm the
Butter Tart Filling: In
the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the
butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the
vanilla extract. Stir in the cream. If using nuts and/or raisins,
place a spoonful in the bottom of each tart shell and then fill the unbaked
tart shells with the filling. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 15 -
20 minutes or until the
pastry has nicely browned and the filling is puffed and set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 12 inch tarts.
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