These butter tarts have a buttery crust and a sweet, buttery, caramel-y filling. A classic Canadian treat!
I am now a full time Mom, but back when I worked, I always brought in baked goods for my coworkers. I once had a request to make butter tarts and when looking online for a great recipe, I found Anna Olson's Pecan Butter Tart recipe. My coworkers loved them and I have now made these countless of times with rave reviews.
There is a huge debate in Canada with whether butter tart fillings should be firm or slightly runny. This particular butter tart has a firm filling. Another debate is between using raisins or not. This original recipe actually calls for pecans. You could switch the pecans for raisins, or leave the butter tarts plain. The pictured butter tarts are plain.
How to make butter tarts:
Butter tart pie dough
This pie dough is made with cake & pastry flour. If you do not have cake & pastry flour, you can add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch per 1 cup of all purpose flour. The other ingredients are butter, sugar, and salt. Mix these together with either the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or with a pastry blender. We want to have small pieces of butter visible in the dough. You will then mix some lemon juice in water and, while mixing, pour into the dough mixture. The dough will come together nicely with this addition. Cut the dough in half and wrap each dough disc with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When the dough is ready, roll it out until it is ¼ inch thick. Use a 4 ½ inch round cookie cutter to cut out each circle. Gently line a greased muffin tin with the pastry. Chill the pastry-lined muffin tins in the refrigerator while making the filling.
Butter tart filling
To prepare the butter tart filling, melt the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it starts bubbling. Meanwhile, add the eggs, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt together into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly add in some of the sugar/butter mixture to temper the eggs. Pour in the remainder of the sugar/butter mixture and whisk to combine.
Assembly of butter tarts
Place a few pecans or raisins at the bottom of the tart shells and pour the filling into each one. Make sure to not fill the shells to the top as the filling will expand in the oven. You will bake the tarts for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then reduce the oven to 375 degrees F and bake for 10 - 15 minutes longer, until the crust edges have browned.
Cool the tarts while in the tin for 5 minutes. Use a knife to run it around the edges of each tart, twisting them to prevent sticking. Keep the tarts in the pan until fully cooled. I store my tarts at room temperature in an air tight container. They keep for up to 3 days.
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- 2 ¼ cup cake and pastry flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoon cold water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pecan pieces or raisins
- Stir the flour, sugar, and salt together with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a pastry blender. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter has been worked into the flour mixture. Stop when the butter is the size of peas.
- In a small bowl stir together the water and lemon juice. With the mixer on slow speed, add this to the dough all at once. Mix until dough comes together.
- Form dough into a bowl and cut in half. Shape into discs and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Remove dough from the fridge 20 minutes before rolling.
- Roll each disc out onto a lightly floured work surface to ¼ inch thick. Use a 4 ½ inch circle cookie cutter to cut out each circle. Line muffin tins with dough circles and chill the lined tin while preparing the filling.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Stir until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat.
- Whisk eggs, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt together in a large bowl. Slowly pour in a bit of the hot mixture and whisk to temper the eggs. Pour in the rest of the hot mixture and whisk until incorporated.
- Put a few pecan pieces or raisins in the bottom of each tart shell. Ladle the filling into each shell, about ¾ full.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 400 F and then reduce to 375 F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, rotating half-way through. Tart filling should be bubbling and crust edges will be browned.
- Cool the butter tarts in the muffin tin for 5 minutes. Use a knife to run around the edges of each tart to prevent sticking. Keep tarts in muffin tin until fully cooled.
- The butter tarts should be stored at room temperature in an air tight container for up to 3 days.