Thursday, 11 May 2017

Classic Canadian Butter Tarts

Butter Tarts are a classic Canadian treat and there are literally hundreds (or maybe more) of recipes out there and a lot of variations.  

I like my tarts a little runny with raisins and this is how I make them.  

You can experiment with the amount of egg/syrup to get the consistency you prefer. I don't recommend using corn syrup. Maple Syrup is the right choice for this quintessential Canadian dessert. 

Serve tarts with a scoop of ice cream or a cup of tea

Pastry Prep time  5 minutes
Total time 2.5 hours (including 2 hr. dough resting time)*

Preheat oven to 450F/232C

*You can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze.

Pastry Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
Ice water
1 tsp. white sugar
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt 
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup lard


Begin by blending flour, sugar and salt in large bowl.  Cut in fats with pastry blender or two knives. Mix egg yolk and vinegar and add enough ice water to make 1/3 Cup of liquid. Add this liquid to fat/flour mixture and bring together to form a disc of dough. Do not over mix or overwork the dough!

Wrap disc in plastic wrap and place into a freezer bag. Chill for two hours or up to two days.

Remove from refrigerator and allow dough to warm up slightly, about five minutes.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8" thickness. Cut out tart shells and place in pan. Chill formed tart shells (optional).

Filling Prep time  5 minutes
Total time 30 minutes (excluding 2 hr. resting time)

Filling Ingredients

3/4 Cup brown sugar
2-3  large eggs*
1/2 Cup raisins or currants
1/4 - 1/3 Cup maple syrup*
1/4 Cup melted butter
Pinch of salt 
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional: Pecans or walnuts

*Using more eggs means a more solid filling. Using more syrup means a runnier filling.  Experiment with the amounts to achieve your favourite consistency.


Mix together brown sugar and eggs and butter. Add vanilla, salt, vinegar and syrup. Whisk well and fill tart shells 2/3 full.

Bake in hot oven for five minutes then reduce heat to 350F/177C
Bake for another 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden and tarts are browned and firmed up.