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Canadian Butter Tarts

If you’re familiar with Canadian cuisine, you’ve likely encountered the beloved butter tart. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, this classic dessert is a must-try. The homemade pastry crusts encase a rich, sweet filling infused with vanilla and packed with crunchy nuts and plump raisins. A perfect blend of textures and flavors that will leave you craving more. Whether you’re celebrating Canada Day or simply looking for a delightful treat to share with friends and family, these butter tarts are sure to impress. With their flaky pastry and gooey brown sugar filling, they’re the perfect offering for any occasion, from casual gatherings to special events.

Why You’ll Love this Quintessential Canadian Dessert

Indulge in the rich flavors of these scrumptious small dessert tarts, boasting a buttery crust, crunchy pecans, sweet golden raisins, and a filling that combines the warmth of brown sugar with the depth of corn syrup. While they can be found at your local bakery, the homemade version elevates this classic treat to new heights. The best part? This recipe is incredibly adaptable, allowing you to substitute in different nuts or dried fruits to suit your taste. And don’t worry if you’re new to home baking – the dough and filling come together with ease, making it a straightforward process even for novices.

How to Make Delicious Butter Tarts

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To begin, combine flour, butter, shortening, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Next, blend the mixture until it’s well combined, then gradually introduce vinegar and ice water, taking care not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for later use. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by whisking together sugar, corn syrup, eggs, salt, and vanilla extract, followed by the addition of melted butter. Once the dough has rested, roll it out to a thickness suitable for cutting into circles using a cookie cutter. These will form the flaky pastry shells that will eventually hold your delicious fillings. To assemble the tarts, place each shell into a mini tart pan or muffin tin and add your chosen fillings – be they fresh fruit, crunchy nuts, or the prepared filling you’ve concocted. Finally, bake the tarts in the oven until they’re golden brown, at which point they’ll be ready to devour.

Substitutions and Variations

Feel free to customize this pastry tart by omitting the fruit and/or nuts or substituting them for other options that suit your taste. Consider mixing in dried currants, chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, crispy bacon, or even decadent chocolate chips. The key is to find a combination that you enjoy. If you’re looking to add an extra layer of complexity to the flavor profile, substitute some corn syrup with pure maple syrup, which pairs beautifully with many classic Canadian desserts. Alternatively, drizzle a small amount over the tart before serving for an added touch.

What to Serve with Old Fashioned Butter Tarts

This delectable Canadian butter tarts recipe offers a delightful treat that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. For an added touch of Canadian flair, consider serving them alongside Nanaimo bars – another beloved national treasure. Whether you’re celebrating Canada Day or simply indulging in a sweet treat, this recipe is sure to please.

Storage Instructions

When it’s time to store your butter tarts, make sure they’ve cooled down completely first. This ensures that the flaky crust remains intact and doesn’t break off into pieces. Once they’re at room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container in the fridge where they’ll keep for up to five days. As you’d expect, the top will soften over time, but rest assured, their flavor won’t suffer. If you’re planning ahead or making a large batch, butter tarts can also be frozen with great success. Simply place them in a freezer bag once they’ve cooled, and they’ll remain fresh for up to three months. To thaw, simply leave them overnight in the refrigerator, making them an ideal option for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Canadian Butter Tarts FAQs

When it comes to serving butter tarts, the temperature is largely a matter of personal preference. If you prefer them warm, simply place them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to reheat. On the other hand, if you enjoy them at room temperature or even chilled, that’s perfectly fine too.In terms of using store-bought dough, the option is yours. Pillsbury Pie Crusts work well with this tart recipe, providing a convenient and time-saving alternative to making your own pastry from scratch.The runny-ness of the filling is another point of debate among butter tart enthusiasts. While some prefer a firm, set filling, others enjoy a gooey, caramel-like consistency. Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste. To achieve a thicker filling, add an extra egg and substitute brown sugar for some of the corn syrup. Conversely, if you prefer a runnier filling, bake the tarts for a minute or two less. For a firmer consistency, bake them for an additional minute or two.As for the flavor profile of a classic Canadian butter tart, it’s a sweet and indulgent treat that combines the richness of butter with the deep sweetness of caramel. Imagine a cross between a pecan pie and a sugar pie, and you’ll get a sense of what these beloved tarts are all about.

Canadian Butter Tarts Recipe

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Canadian Butter Tarts

Canadian butter tarts are a beloved classic, and once you try this recipe, you’ll understand why they’re so well-loved. The combination of homemade pastry shells filled with a sweet, vanilla-infused mixture and studded with nuts and raisins is a match made in heaven. With only 50 minutes of total preparation time required, it’s an accessible treat that’s sure to become a staple in your household. Simply spend 20 minutes preparing the ingredients, 30 minutes baking the shells, and you’ll be rewarded with 15 delicious butter tarts perfect for snacking or serving at your next gathering.


To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, cube the butter and shortening for the pastry dough. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cubed butter, cubed shortening, light brown sugar, and salt. Use a pastry cutter, forks, or even your fingers to cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles crumbs the size of peas. Then, mix in 4 Tablespoons of ice water with apple cider vinegar until the dough comes together, adding additional Tablespoons as needed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling by combining light brown sugar, light corn syrup, egg, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla. Mix until combined, then add melted butter and mix again before setting aside. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and roll it out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch on a clean surface. Use a round cookie cutter that is approximately 3/4 to 1 inch larger than your mini tart pan cavities or mini muffin pan cavities to cut out rounds of dough, re-rolling any remaining scraps until no more dough remains. Place each round into the pastry-lined tart cavity, gently pressing it into the sides and bottom, then sprinkle a few raisins and pecans into the bottom of each. Spoon the filling over the raisins and pecans, leaving about 1/4 of the way full to allow for sugar bubbling. Finally, bake on a lower rack in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the tops have caramelized and the edges of the pastry are just starting to golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan.


To achieve the signature crinkly dough top, employ a cookie cutter featuring textured edges. Opt for one that’s approximately 0.75 to 1 inch larger in diameter than the openings of your tart or muffin tin spaces. For instance, if your pan has roughly 2.5-inch deep and wide openings, you’ll want a cookie cutter measuring around 3 inches in diameter.