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Leo MacKinnon, Dingwall, NS

By Alain Bossé
Food photography by Steve Smith/VisionFire

Speaking to Leo MacKinnon of Cape North, Dingwall was an absolute pleasure. When we called to tell him his butter tarts had won first place in the Comfort Food category, he was extremely excited and extremely humble at the same time. Asked why he chose to enter this particular recipe, he replied that it was one of his good recipes; if this is one of his good recipes we would love to try one of his great ones!

When Leo isn’t in the kitchen whipping up fabulous butter tarts he can be found on the deck of a fishing boat or perhaps guiding a moose hunt. The proud father of two children, a 21-year-old daughter in university and a 16-year-old son in grade 11, had some pretty sound advice for other cooks: “Don’t use too much salt.” We can get on board with that, Leo.



2 cups (500 mL) flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) butter
¼ cup (50 mL) water


½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) melted butter
1 cup (250 mL) maple syrup
2 eggs
2 tsp (10 mL) cider vinegar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) raisins

Mix flour, sugar, salt and then butter and flour. Stir in about ¼ cup (50 mL) water until blended together. Chill in fridge.

While dough is chilling, mix brown sugar and butter, then syrup, eggs, vinegar and vanilla. Set aside. Roll the chilled dough about 4mm thick. Cut into rounds and put in muffin pan, fitting up the sides. Add raisins evenly among the 12 sections and then add filling. Bake at 375° (190°C) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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