Butter Tarts

Butter Tarts

Gooey and delightful, butter tarts are a staple treat at any Canadian holiday—usually Christmas, but I’ve seen them at Thanksgiving and Easter as well. I actually had no idea that they were a Canadian speciality until I moved to Australia and my tart-loving family-to-be had no idea what they were. Check out these other Canadian recipes too: Nanaimo barspumpkin pietourtière, and maple syrup pie!

There are two main varieties of butter tarts—those with “impurities” such as raisins or pecans, and those without. I guess I’m a purist because I prefer them without the added bits, but I’ll let you decide for yourself! I did cheat a bit for these ones and used pre-made pastry, which made making these an absolute cinch. But man pre-made pastries come with a lot of packaging. Blech—you sure pay for that convenience.

And I’m so sorry for not posting recently! There are happy reasons for this. One, I just started a new job doing online marketing for Good Return, a non-profit that does microfinance in the Asia Pacific. The transition from working at home to being in an office full time has made me a bit shy of time to do my normal photos & recipes… but never fear, a new balance will soon be reached! I was also back in Canada for three weeks visiting with friends and family, and doing lots and lots of wedding planning. (I’m sure you’ll hear plenty about that as time wears on!) Anyway, without further ado, let’s get this show back on the road.

butter tarts

Butter Tarts

Makes: 12
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

brown sugarIngredients:

  • 12 premade shortcrust pastry tart bases
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey, golden syrup, or corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp each vanilla extract and white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup currants, raisins, pecans, or coconut (optional)

Optional: If using raisins or currants, soak in a few tablespoons of warm brandy, rum, or triple sec for about 20 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C. In a microwavable bowl, soften 2 tbsp of butter and whisk together with the sugar until creamy. Add the honey or syrup, egg, vanilla, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and mix well. If using extra fillings, divide these between the pastry shells now. Spoon the liquid mixture over top.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until filling has gone golden and is bubbling. Let cool and enjoy!

cooking butter tarts
I’m not sure why all of my butter tarts didn’t go golden at the same rate—if needed, just pop a couple back in the oven for a few minutes!

18 Responses to Butter Tarts

    • My family recipe says 375 and bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned. ( If the syrup mixture has boiled over the edge of the tarts you are going to want to run a knife around the tarts before trying to remove them from your muffin / tart pan)

      • I learned a little trick which saves your beautiful tarts from boiling over…start cooking with oven preheated to 200 F. After 5 min, without removing pan, turn oven up to 375 F for remaining cooking time. Works beautifully.

    • The recipe says 400F. I’ve made these many times with rum soaked raisins & currants & pecans plus a combination. I use no name tart shells & they have always turned out perfect. Best recipe! My husband loves them even more than his mother’s recipe.

  1. Nice recipe! Soaking the raisins in rum first really added to the tart!
    1st batch I used the suggest cooking time but felt the shells didn’t brown but the insides where over cooking. So second batch I dropped the temp to 375 and did approx 16-17 mins for a better overall cook. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  2. This is the recipe my Mom used when I lived at home. Every holiday these tarts were a must in my home also.
    On a move many years ago all my cookbooks and collections of Moms old standbys were lost along with Mom’s butter tart recipe.
    Your recipe is the closest I’ve found in years of searching. Vinegar is the ingredient that had been missing from them all.
    Thanks for the post! Compliments from a fellow Canadian

  3. I start my tarts at 400 degrees for about 5-8 minutes, then drop temperature back to 350 degrees, bake until the tops are bubbling slightly. Then remove from oven.

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