Saturday, May 2, 2009

Butter Tarts

Butter tarts2
If you’ve ever been North of the border, you may have come across these little tarts, with their syrupy sweet filling, most likely with raisins,  in tender pastry.  Butter tarts are one of few foods that are uniquely Canadian, and beloved much like our Tim Hortons.  Growing up my father used to buy them and you had better be sure you didn’t take your sweet time getting your share, or you were out of luck!  I have had an incredible craving for one of these the last two weeks, and finally got around to making them.  I think I realize why I haven’t made them more than once or twice before, because I’ve eaten half a batch myself in just two days…so I should warn they may be slightly addictive!
My first batch I sent along with my Mr. BotC to work, and he said he left them at the front desk for whoever wanted one.  When he walked by the desk at 9:30am they had vanished (he got there at 8:30am).
butter tarts3
It seems many of my American friends have never had the opportunity to try these, but they are actually rather simple to make, and oh so delicious.
The following recipe is reprinted and adapted with permission from Lennie Locken of Eat Write Create and Alphabet Soup Studio, who was kind enough to share the original recipe at RecipeZaar.

Award Winning Butter Tarts
Back in the 1970’s there was a national contest held in Canada to determine who had the best buttertarts, this recipe is the winner, originating from Wilkie’s Bakery in Orilla, Ontario.
  • pie pastry (enough to fill 16 muffin cups – I used a double recipe of  this Pâte Brisée from Simply Recipes, which I highly recommend *)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Prepare muffin pans by rolling out pie dough and cutting 4-inch (approx) circles, I used a fluted cutter for the scalloped edges; ease dough circles into ungreased muffin cups; set aside in fridge until ready to fill.
  2. In a small bowl, place raisins and cover with hot tap water; let stand on the counter for 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the soft butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup; stir well until sugar is dissolved and butter is creamed.
  4. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Drain raisins.
  6. Retrieve tart shells and divide raisins equally into all shells; then divide butter mixture into all tarts.  Don’t fill tarts all the way to the very top, as the filling does bubble up quite a bit, and will get everywhere!
  7. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes; filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling.
  8. I like mine runny, enough that it oozes out a bit when you bite into it, only firm enough so much that it runs down your chin and hands.  If you prefer a firmer filling, baked for the full 20 minutes.
  9. Let cooked butter tarts cool in pans for 10 minutes after removing from oven; then carefully remove and place on racks until completely cool.
*If making your own pastry, make sure to not overwork the dough.  The pastry should be tender and light, just enough to contain the filling within.  The second batch, shown here,  I overworked in my haste to finish them so they were a bit tough, but still are every bit as tasty(and didn’t stop them from ending up in my mouth!.

Thank you again so much Lennie for allowing me to share this wonderful recipe!

It has come to my attention that people have been stealing photos from this blog post and using it to post with other butter tart recipes on their blogs, or in some cases to actually sell their own butter tarts.  All the photos on this blog are mine and from the recipe listed unless otherwise credited.  If you would like to use my photo, PLEASE ask first, and only use it if you are using the actual recipe with it (which is not my own, and I asked permission to post, so you should too).  If you see these photos anywhere else, and not posted by me, or linked back to me, they have been stolen from this page.


  1. Kris, you're very welcome! I'm so glad you are enjoying a butter tart feast and that I could help!

  2. these tarts are the best.... great photos.. :)

  3. Lennie: Its much appreciated, they are fabulous!

    Hendria: Thank you! They are my favourite tart too.

  4. I only realized recently that butter tarts are a Canadian foodie phenomenon! Yours are so lovely looking, wonderful photography, makes me want to dive in to my kitchen and get baking.

  5. Thank you Mike and Suzie! The split apart tart in the picture was eaten in approximately 20 seconds after the last shot...just because I hate waste, of course!

  6. Those look amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. guess what, they really are the best, i have been making tarts for years, switched to this recipe and everyone agrees they are perfect, do not overbake, i do mine at 450 for 5 min and then reduce to 350 for about another 10 and watch carefully to see that they dont overflow....Sherran, Thornloe, Northern Ont, Canada