I’m very excited to announce that I will be judging Canada’s Grand Champion Butter Tart and Butter Tart Maker at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Wednesday November 9th from 11am-1pm in the Burnbrae Food & Lifestyle Stage.
What is a Butter Tart?
Butter Tarts, if you don’t know, are a quintessential Canadian food. They have launched many roadtrips and many debates. Mainly about what makes the best butter tart and is it plain, pecan or raisin? Who makes the best butter tart? (My friend Danny says she does and has a secret recipe!) There are even multiple Butter Tart Trails you can travel and sample tarts to your heart’s delight. In Ontario alone, there is one in the Kawarthas, one in Wellington county, and even one as part of the Taste Trail in Prince Edward County
In fact, one of the first questions people ask me when they hear I’m judging the butter tart competition at the Royal is: have you done the Butter Tart Trail? I have not.
But like any good Canadian, I have eaten a LOT of butter tarts. From fancy to homemade. From creative to traditional. And like any good food critic, I have judged them all.
How do you judge a Butter Tart?
I look at the filling, the flavour, the crust. I evaluate whether they are runny or gooey. How well the extras (nuts, raisins, other creative additions) add or detract from the butter tart as a whole. What is the filling to crust ratio? If the sugar has crystalized in the tart. What kind of surface is on top of the tart. And of course, I check for soggy bottoms.
Judging Butter Tarts at the Royal
The 24 butter tarts will be the top 6 tarts from each of the 4 classes which have been judged before the Royal to move on to the live judging for Grand Champion. The Butter Tart makers will be in attendance during the live judging. Judging will happen live on the Burnbrae Food & Lifestyle Stage, Wednesday November 9th from 11am-1pm
The Royal will also provide an opportunity for sampling tarts to the audience some come on by if you are at the Royal on Wednesday.
If you’ve never seen a butter tart, check out this video I made this summer when visiting The Maids’ Cottage in Newmarket, Ontario. The links at the bottom of the video will take you to butter tarts and Anna Olson’s cookbook including her butter tart, which you can buy directly on Amazon. (How cool is that?!?)
If you have never had a butter tart, you need to try one, or two, or four, or ten. Make sure to try at least one plain (or traditional), one pecan and one raisin, so you too can get in on the debate.
So, how do you like your butter tarts? Plain, raisin, pecan?