The Great Canadian Butter Tart

The Great Canadian Butter Tart

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Today is “Friday Pie Day” in my house. This has been a thing in our house for the past couple of years. Not being much of a pie maker until recently, I used to buy a pie for our Friday night dinners. This past year, I have started making pies and tarts instead of buying them. Today’s “Friday Pie Day” treat is butter tarts!

I love butter tarts. You might say I’m a bit of a butter tart snob. I’m always in search of the perfect butter tart to buy and most of the time, I am disappointed. The perfect butter tart for me has to have a rich, flaky crust and gooey almost centre that has caramel notes. Too often either the crust is not good or the centre is too sweet and sugary, or both. There is a big butter tart festival about an hour away from me every year and sadly, I have yet to go because it happens on a Saturday morning when I am teaching music lessons. There are 3 places in Ontario that I’ve tried so far that, in my opinion, have perfect butter tarts: Doo Doos in Baileyboro, south of Peterborough, The Bakery in Flesherton and Wilkies Bakery in Orillia. The problem is none of those places are in the city I live in, and 2 of those places are a couple of hours away from my house.

Last fall, I decided to try my hand at making them. I did some research online and managed to find an old published recipe for the filling in Wilkies Bakery’s butter tarts. I paired the filling with a crust recipe from my Canadian Living cookbook and the results were amazing. Now I no longer have to travel for the perfect butter tart!

The filling can be used with store bought pie dough, but if you want to try making the crust, you won’t regret it. I have found making the dough in the food processor works best. I like to add raisins to my butter tarts but you could easily add pecans or just plain filling. I’ve added pictures of the steps below the recipe. It is important that the pastry be cold before going in the oven for maximum flakiness, so I chill after rolling out the shells, before filling them. To make it easy to get the tarts out of the muffin tin, I make parchment paper liners for the tins (pictures below). I highly recommend doing this because if the filling overflows at all the tarts may stick to the muffin tin.

butter tarts
Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 1 Hr Cook Time: 17 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 17 Mins
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The Great Canadian Butter Tart

Butter Tarts are a classic Canadian dessert. This easy butter tart recipe features a buttery, flaky pastry filled with a gooey caramel-like filling. You can add pecans, raisins, or keep them plain. The filling comes together in seconds! You can make the crust in this recipe or make use store-bought pie crust for even easier butter tarts!


0/13 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Crust
  • For the Filling


0/17 Instructions
    For the Crust
  • Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 seconds to combine.
  • In liquid measuring cup, whisk egg yolk and vinegar to combine. Add enough ice water to make 1/3 cup (78 ml). Keep in freezer until ready to use.
  • Sprinkle butter and shortening over the flour and pulse until only pea-sized pieces of butter remain (10-15 pulses).
  • Sprinkle egg mixture over flour mixture and then pulse to combine (10-15 pulses). Dough should look like wet sand and come together when squeezed between fingers.
  • Gather dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap or reusable beeswax wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  • Before rolling out dough, create parchment paper shells by cutting out squares and folding them over the bottom of a glass that fits in your muffin tins (see pictures below). Fit the parchment liners into 12 muffin cups.
  • Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into twelve 10 cm/4 inch circles. You may need to put the dough back together and re-roll for the last couple of tarts.
  • Press into prepared muffin tin.
  • Chill 30 minutes.
  • For the Filling
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, blend together softened butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup with hand blender
  • Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  • Drain raisins and divide equally into chilled tart shells.
  • Pour butter mixture over the tarts (about 1 1/2 tbsp per tart).
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes; filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling. The amount of time to bake depends on how runny you like your tarts. I tend to go for 17 minutes.
  • Let cooked butter tarts cool in pan for 10 minutes after removing from oven then place on racks until completely cool.


#baking  #buttertarts  #Pies  #recipe  #tarts  
what pie dough should look like

Dough should look like wet sand and come together when pressed between your fingers

pie dough disk

Press the dough into a disk before chilling. I find a reusable beeswax wrap super handy for doing this as it stops you warming up the dough with your fingers. I just dump the dough on to the wrap and press it together using with the wrap.

parchment paper muffin tin liners

Parchment paper muffin liners are easy to make. Cut squares slightly bigger than the holes of your muffin tin then fold them over the bottom of a glass that fits in your tin. Best of all the liners are compostable!

Once your tart shells are chilled and your filling is made, divide raisins or pecans over the bottom of your prepared shells.

filled butter tarts

Pour your prepared filling over the raisins or pecans.

Finished butter tarts.


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