Print
The Best Canadian Butter Tarts cut open image

The Best Classic Canadian Butter Tarts

The Best Classic Canadian Butter Tarts - there's a reason why we have a national obsession with these sweet, buttery, caramel-y tarts. I've sampled them in many places across the country and this thick pastry version is my favorite. Don't do the raisin debate, just leave them out if they are not your thing. Everyone should be able to enjoy them as they like them.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 large tarts
Author Barry C. Parsons

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 2 ¼ cups flour pastry flour is best to use but all-purpose will do
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening Very cold and cut in cubes
  • 1/2 cup butter Very cold and cut in cubes
  • 6 tbsp ice water approximately, enough to bring the dough together

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins substituting, pecans, walnuts or chocolate chips also make good variations

Instructions

To prepare the pastry

  1. Pulse the cold butter and shortening into the flour sugar and salt using a food processor until the shortening or butter is reduced to pea sized pieces.
  2. Sprinkle the water over the surface and toss with a fork until the water is just incorporated into the dough. Do not over work the dough; handle it only enough so that the dough stays together.
  3. Form the dough into two rounds about an inch thick.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about a half hour.
  5. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds with 4 inch cutter. Fit into muffin cups. Chill in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling. Cold pastry heading into a hot oven will always be flakier.

To make the filling

  1. Combine all filling ingredients except raisins.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle raisins in a single layer in the bottom of the pastry lined muffin cups.
  4. Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
  5. Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from from pans.

Recipe Notes

There is considerable debate about whether the filling in a butter tart should be runny or firm. Preferences vary, especially geographically but if you want a firmer, less runny filling simply add an additional egg, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decrease the corn syrup to 1/4 cup.