There are some recipes, tastes and aromas that evoke strong memories. Memories of childhood dinners with extended family, memories of special occasions. Each Christmas, my grandmother made a batch of her butter tarts to serve alongside the flambéed plum pudding at the end of the meal. The crust was flaky and the filling was sweet, tender and buttery.
Considering my irrational fear of pastry, I always shied away from making the tarts myself. My inability to turn out a decent pie is one of the reasons I am sure that Ree would bar my entrance to her ranch. That, and the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop myself from hugging Charlie her lovable basset hound every few minutes, would likely get me cattle-prodded off the property in no time.
When I saw these Oatmeal Butter Tart Squares by Lindsey (gingerbreadbagels on Tasty Kitchen), complete with a caramelized filling, with raisins, oatmeal and coconut, and a simple sugar cookie crust, I knew I had to try them. At first bite, memories of my grandmother flooded back and I knew that these would become a regular treat in our house.
First, let’s prepare the crust. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and get the ingredients ready.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add in the flour and mix until almost combined.
Use a spatula to mix until the sugar cookie dough comes together.
Evenly press the cookie dough into a lightly greased 8- by 8-inch pan. I used a foil liner, which was not in Lindsey’s recipe. Ignore me, and follow Lindsey’s instructions. The filling stuck to the foil and made a bit of a mess.
Bake until the edges start to turn golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Now let’s make the the filling. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.
Place the raisins in a medium bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 20 minutes. Drain raisins and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until combined.
In a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer works fine too), mix together the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.
Add oats, baking powder and kosher salt, and mix to combine.
Fold in sweetened flaked coconut, raisins and chopped pecans.
Pour the filling over the cooled sugar cookie crust.
Bake until filling is set, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the squares cool completely before cutting. The squares will firm up once they are completely cooled. If you try to cut them while still warm, the filling may ooze out.
Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy!
Thank you, Lindsey, for a dessert that is not only irresistible, but brought back so many fond memories for me. Be sure to check out Lindsey’s blog Gingerbread Bagels for many other wonderful recipes.
Here is the link to the printable recipe: Oatmeal Butter Tart Squares
Dara Michalski is a doll and a sweetheart who clearly knows her way around the kitchen. She blogs at Cookin’ Canuck, where she shares her flavor-packed recipes and fun, engaging writing. The photography’s pretty incredible, too.