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Canadian Butter Tarts: How I Make Recipes and Discover Delicious New Pasties

Have you ever heard of a butter tart? I came across an article a couple months ago about this great Canadian pastry that everyone up north loves and to me it sounded bomb. It’s kind of like a pecan pie without pecans and a lot more buttery in texture. I was so down for this.

I did a bunch of research. I didn’t want an American version of a Canadian classic. I wanted to find something so close to what a Canadian grandma would make. I found a few recipes and mapped out percentages to see what they did differently from my pecan pie, besides the pecans. One major thing I noticed was an increase in corn syrup and butter. I have never been afraid of butter so I was all in. One thing I wanted to do a bit differently though is some maple syrup. It's Canadian right? It has to have some maple syrup! So after playing with some ratios, looking from my recipe and scaling it for a nice dozen muffin sized tarts, I was ready to do a test.

For the crust of this recipe I knew I needed to go to my favorite and classic recipe for a buttery, melt in your mouth crust. This recipe is one I perfected in high school based off a Paula Deen recipe. I love it for how simple it is along with the texture. You can always make a standard pie crust and get the tender and flakey crust but try this one and you’ll start using it more because it is just amazing. The best part to me is how it’s made though. Unlike pie crust that you can over mix or break the butter down too much, this one you can throw into a food processor and mix it up. It comes together into a dough and you’re done. I have done it in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and it will work but food processor is a lot faster and easier.

After the dough is made, another great part of this crust is just using your hands to press in the crust! You can absolutely refrigerate it, then roll it, cut circles, and line that way. But it’s so quick and easy to just press with my fingers. Yes it may not be super even but it’s easier and when making them for myself or family a little variation won’t be an issue. Once the pan is lined, refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is going to allow the butter to cool and solidify which will help while baking since the filling takes a little extra time. This also relaxes the gluten and makes sure the crust won’t shrink up while baking.

As for the filling, super quick and easy. Some eggs, corn syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar, and of course butter. If you want, you can absolutely add some alcohol into this. Maybe a little brandy or bourbon? Sounds great to me! Like I mentioned above I used some maple syrup to hold true to Canadian flavor. Since both maple syrup and corn syrup are invert sugars (sugar

suspended in water) they can both be used pretty interchangeably. To be exact, corn syrup has less water that maple syrup but I’m not going to get into that. This was just an experiment that turned out amazing right off the bat! One last thing about the filling though, raisins. I saw a lot of people online saying it’s classic to have raisins at the bottom of the butter tart. Personally I love raisins so I was all in for this. After baking you don’t even really notice anyways.

With filling made and crusts chilled, spread out the raisins, top off with filling and it’s ready for the oven. This bakes just like a pecan pie. So it’s a bit hard to determine when it’s done. The edge of the crust will be slightly golden and the filling should look dry on top and have sunken down into the shell. Keep a timer on it and watch it closely and you should be fine. Just remember that it will continue to bake out of the oven so you want it to be a little underdone. The edges of the crust will not get super dark so don’t wait for that to happen or the filling will overcook!

Nice little slide show of dividing, shaping, and filling!

Once out of the oven just a little time cooling before removing from the pan! If you have a pan with removable bottoms this will be super quick and easy. I don’t have a muffin sized pan that will do that, so I used a mini off set spatula to help release them. Make sure to let them cool slightly so that they don’t crumble when being removed but also do it while still slightly warm so that they don’t get stuck! One of the down sides to this type of dough and pan together is that they can end up sticking even if the pan is greased. It mostly comes down to the butter in the dough solidifying and sticking to the pan so time this well. I let it sit for about half an hour before I could safely and easily remove them. I did lose one to crumbling. It happens. It’s life. But it was so good to eat right then and there while still a little warm.

Below is my final recipe. Try it for yourself. I read that it is common in Canada in the winter months so I thought this was a nice fitting pastry for a cold rainy or snowy day. It is nice and home-y so it's perfect when you need some good ol' comfort. Let me know what you think and how it goes at home!


Canadian Butter Tart

75g Powdered Sugar

190g All Purpose Flour

170g Unsalted Butter, soft

300g Unsalted Butter, melted

2 ea. Eggs

100g Corn Syrup

130g Maple Syrup

200g Brown Sugar

Pinch Salt

Splash Vanilla

70g Golden Raisins

  1. In a food processor, blend the flour and powdered sugar together.

  2. Add the 170g soft butter and pulse to form a smooth dough ball.

  3. Divide evenly in a greased muffin pan and press with your fingers to create an even crust.

  4. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes while making the filling.

  5. To make the filling, in a bowl, blend the melted butter, eggs, corn syrup, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla.

  6. When dough is ready, spread raisins throughout evenly, then pour filling over to the top of each crust.

  7. Place in a 350℉ oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Center will sink in slightly and crust will be golden on edges.

  8. Allow to cool slightly but remove while still warm.



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