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Oct 10, 2011 08:53 AM

Consider the butter tart, iconic Canadian sweet - buttertart's mom's butter tart recipe...

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all! We had a rousing discussion of butter tarts on the current what are you baking thread, and it was suggested that the subject was worthy of its own thread. Here we go -
Most Americans are not familiar with this most English Canadian of sweets - a tart filled with a butterscotchy barely solid filling, with raisins or other things in it, similar to a mini pecan pie without the nuts. They are missing a treat!
The tarts are baked in standard 12 unit muffin pans lined with thickish pie pastry - make your standard (my mom's was the one on the Tenderflake lard box) and roll it out a bit thicker than you would for a pie crust; cut out circles using a saucer or other 5" round item as a guide; spray the muffin tin with vegetable spray and fit the circles into the muffin cups (OK if the pastry pleats a bit, this isn't patisserie school).
You can stick the prepared pan in the fridge while you make the filling - my mom didn't (pastry was made, rolled out, and baked - only chilled if the batch was too big for immediate use).
Filling: beat 2 eggs, 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup corn syrup (either light or dark for US bakers, the standard one in Canada is golden in colour), a pinch to 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup soft butter (always salted in our house, some always kept at room temp for spreading and such recipes as this), 1/2 cup or so dark raisins or preferably currants, and 1 tsp vanilla. Mom also sometimes added a tsp of cider vinegar "to cut the sweetness".
Fill the tart shells with this - the amount makes 12 tarts - and bake at 400 deg F for 14 to 18 mins. We like them just barely set, some people prefer them firmer.
Cool in the pan on a rack and serve in twos with a good strong cup of tea (one is never enough).
Some people add chocolate chips to these - but really some things are not meant to be chocolate as far as I'm concerned.
These are ours - how do you make yours?

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  1. Thanks for this! I've never actually made buttertarts and this looks like a good place to start.

    Also, Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian CHers! (And a special shoutout to all of us who are not celebrating properly this year and feeling just a touch homesick.)

    1. When I read this title, I was wondering what was Canadian and sweet?

      Buttertart's Mom? Or the butter tarts? Or both?

      2 Replies
      1. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, buttertart!

        I confess, I've only tasted store-bought and bakery-baked butter tarts. ;-)

        Look forward to trying your mom's recipe! Thanks for sharing it.

        1. Happy holiday, buttertart! ...It's hard to improve on Canadians.

          I've used this recipe for a few years now--we love it.

          And no, no chocolate chips in these please!

          1 Reply
          1. re: blue room

            Very similar, but no corn syrup. Interesting!

          2. This recipe actually looks quite similar to my grandmother's recipe for what she called "Nut Patties." Obviously there are no nuts in the butter tarts, but the rest of it (raisins, filling) is more or less the same, as is the pie crust/muffin tin method. My grandmother was from Ohio, but I don't think Nut Patties are an Ohio or Midwest thing - I've never known any other Ohioan to make them (or really anyone else, for that matter). I wonder if there was a Canadian somewhere along her line that thought adding nuts to a butter tart would be a good idea???

            1 Reply
            1. re: biondanonima

              I've never heard of a nut patty anywhere else - that is interesting! Quite possibly there was, part of my husband's family emigrated to Canada from Ireland and then went to the States - I think that was a fairly common settlement pattern.