Butter tarts – what’s not to love about the combination of flaky pastry and a gooey, sweet centre?! These classic Canadian treats are a favourite in our house and, once you realize how simple they are to make, I’m sure your family will love them too!
While there are many versions out there – some made with corn syrup, some made with maple syrup, some that add pecans, some that add in chocolate – I’m sharing this classic butter tart recipe that doesn’t overdo the corn syrup and can easily be modified to include whatever extras and add-ins your heart desires. Did I mention that it’s super easy, too?! I’ll share some of my tips and tricks for getting delicious results without spending too much time on the pastry or prep work!
Trick #1: Don’t stress over keeping everything cold!
This is going against the rules of pastry making, but keeping the butter chilled can create quite a process, making pastry daunting and intimidating. In this case, however, I use room temperature butter or margarine which is softer and easier to mix with the flour. The trade-off is that you have to chill the dough at least one hour, but I recommend over night and up to 24 hours. That gets everything nice and cold again!
Trick #2: Use your hands
Rather than using the knife and fork method for cutting the butter into the flour, just use your hands! You’ll get a nice coarse meal consistency more quickly than by using utensils. Simply work the butter and flour together, rubbing it between your hands until it starts to make small “pebble”.
I’ve included more tips in the recipe below. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out for you!
Prep Time: 30-45 min
Chill Time: 30 min+
Bake Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hr + Chilling
Makes: 12-15 tarts
2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 c butter, margarine, or shortening
2-3 Tbsp water (or as needed)
1/4 c butter, margarine
2 c lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 Tbsp corn syrup
3 tsp vanilla
Raisins or Pecans, optional
Pastry: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter to the bowl and, use your hands to work the flour and butter together until pea-size crumbs form.
Drizzle in water and toss with your hands, adding enough water to bring the dough together into a smooth disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
Filling: Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Mix until smooth but do not overmix (Also avoid using a whisk, as this adds too much air.)
Assemble & Bake: Grease a 12-cup baking tin. Roll out pastry on a floured surface to about 1/8″ thickness. Use a 4″ round cutter to cut twelve rounds and fit into the tin. Reroll the pastry up to one more time.
If using raisins or pecans, place them in the unbaked tart shells, then pour filling into shells. Simply fill the tart shells with filling if you are omitting the optional add-ins. Fill tarts to just below the top of the tart shell.
Bake at 375° F for 30 minutes or until crust is golden and the centres are bubbling.
Recipe Source: Adapted from 13th Street Bakery Butter Tarts recipe via House & Home Magazine