Butter Tarts

29 May
Butter Tarts

For months I have been hearing about an exciting sweet treat. In fact, I thought that they must be a new creation since I had never heard of them before. However, when I started researching them I learned that these are not at all new. Canadian Butter Tarts have been around for at least a century.

Butter Tarts are a true Canadian original. While there may be similar styles of treats in other countries, this is classically Canadian.

I decided to make these for the first time over the weekend. These little two bite treats sounded like a great accompaniment to the cheese board.

I started with my standard pastry crust. Because Daughter Number Two came early to spend time with us I put her to use. I gave her the task of putting the pastry crust in my mini muffin pan. Her fingernails were making this a little difficult. Daughter Number Four suggested she use a bottle stopper. While that was a great idea it wasn’t perfect. A champagne cork actually was the perfect size and shape. Teamwork is important in a kitchen.

This filling is so easy to make. Butter Tarts are a delicate and rich dessert with simple ingredients. I was hopeful that they would live up to the hype. Also, I wanted something that my family would enjoy.

My recipe made two dozen butter tarts. They looked great and smelled incredible. Daughter Number Two wanted to know if we could share one for quality assurance purposes. After tasting the Butter Tarts she wanted to know if we needed two dozen or just one dozen to share. The girls all had one before the party.  That’s a good sign unless you’re a guest at the party.

There were plenty to share with my family, too. Everyone who tried Butter Tarts liked them. What’s not to like? Delicious buttery pastry crust filled with a buttery caramelized filling. These have me singing “Oh, Canada”.

The best part is that they are easy to make. I will definitely be making Butter Tarts again when I need a two-bite dessert. They store well and because of their size they are excellent to take to a party or potluck. Furthermore Butter Tarts would be a great accompaniment or ending to a variety of menus.

Have you heard of Canadian Butter Tarts? Have you tried them yet? If not, you definitely should.

Butter Tarts

Pastry Shell (Crust) Recipe

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ice water (plus more if needed)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (ice cold)


  • 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

For Pastry Shells (Crust):

  1. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  2. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, ½ tablespoon at a time). Do not over mix.
  3. Place dough onto a work surface; form dough gently ball, then with your hands press into a disk about 3/4-inch-thick. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator before rolling out crust. Allow about 10 minutes before rolling.
  5. Roll out into a lightly floured surface to between 1/8” and ¼” thickness. Cut into 24 circles about 2 ¼” diameter.
  6. Gently press each cut pastry crust into the well of a mini muffin pan. Refrigerate pan of shells while mixing filling.

For filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl mix brown sugar and salt.
  3. Then beat the softened butter into the sugar by hand until smooth. Do not use an electric mixer as it will incorporate too much air into the filling.
  4. Add vanilla and egg and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  5. Remove pastry shells from refrigerator.
  6. Using a teaspoon fill each pastry shell about halfway until all are filled.
  7. Place muffin tin on a baking sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, or until centers are set.
  8. Remove tarts from oven to a wire rack. Cool for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Using an offset spatula or table knife run gently around the edge of each tart to loosen.
  10. Allow tarts to cool completely.
  11. Again using the offset spatula or table knife remove the tarts from the muffin tin by running around and under each tart gently.


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