Butter Tarts Recipe That Bring Sweetness To Dessert Time

There are few desserts considered as quintessentially Canadian as a butter tart. But, these little tarts have quite the murky past. Some believe the first recipe for butter tarts dates back to 1900 when it was published in an Ontario hospital's cookbook (via Radio). Others believe the recipe dates all the way back to the 1600s, where the tart's filling contained butter, dried fruit, and maple syrup (via Food Network).

A butter tart offers the most perfectly gooey, sweet bite. It's unlike any fruit or custard pie filling, and it's totally unique in its own right. And over time, adaptations have certainly been enjoyed, such as adding walnuts, pecans, or even bacon bits to the filling or spicing up the flavor with nutmeg or cinnamon.

Butter tarts may not be the most lavish-looking of desserts, but they are undeniably delicious with their flaky crust, oozing filling, and pecan pie resemblance. And now, we have the easiest recipe for you to whip up a batch right in your own kitchen. Keep in mind that the overall prep time takes into consideration the 30 minutes that the dough is chilling in the refrigerator.

Gather the ingredients to prepare this easy recipe for butter tarts

To make this classic Canadian treat, you'll want to grab all of your ingredients ahead of time. For this easy butter tarts recipe, you'll need two sticks of cold, unsalted butter, 3 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of cold milk. These ingredients will form the pastry dough.

For the butter tart filling, you'll need one egg, ⅔ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of corn syrup, ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, ¼ cup of softened butter, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Prep the pastry dough

To get started on making these butter tarts, you'll want to first prep the pastry dough. Luckily, we've simplified it for this process. 

Start by adding half of the flour, the white sugar, and salt into a food processor. Pulse the flour with the butter, and then add in the milk. Pulse again, and then continue to add in the remaining flour and pulse until a soft dough forms. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender or fork to work the butter into the flour mixture until a dough forms.

Knead the pastry dough

When the pastry dough forms in the food processor, transfer it to a well-floured surface to finish the process. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball, and then knead it into a square. Folding it multiple times will create a nice, flaky pastry dough with plenty of layers.

Once the dough comes together, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes. This will allow the butter to cool and harden again, after having been worked throughout the kneading process.

Make the filling for the butter tarts

While the dough is chilling, it's time to prep the filling for your butter tarts. First, preheat the oven to 350 F so it can warm up to the proper temperature.

In a large bowl, add in the corn syrup, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and salt. Mix until those ingredients are well combined, and then mix in the egg. Lastly, mix in the softened butter until the mixture is free of any large clumps. Don't worry if there are a few chunks of butter left.

Roll and cut the dough for this easy butter tarts recipe

Once the dough has been left to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes, prepare a work surface with plenty of flour. Take the dough out of the plastic wrap, and use a floured rolling pin to roll out and flatten the dough. Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick.

Once the dough has been rolled out, use a large cup or a measuring cup to cut circles into the dough. Grease a cupcake pan with cooking spray, and then press a circle of dough into each well to form the tart shell. Poke the bottom of the shell with a fork.

Fill and bake the butter tarts

Once all of your tart shells are prepped in the cupcake pan, it's time to add the filling. Use a measuring cup to fill each tart shell to make the process simpler. Be sure to only fill the shell halfway full. Once filled, bake the butter tarts at 350 F for 25 minutes until the tops are bubbling and golden brown. Once baked, remove the butter tarts from the oven, and put them aside to allow the filling to set and cool completely.

Butter Tarts Recipe That Bring Sweetness To Dessert Time
4.9 from 33 ratings
A butter tart offers the most perfectly gooey, sweet bite. We have the easiest recipe for you to whip up a batch of these delights right at home.
Prep Time
50
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
12
tarts
butter tarts
Total time: 75 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed + ¼ cup softened butter, for filling
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt + ¼ teaspoon, for filling
  • 2 tablespoons cold milk
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
Directions
  1. To make the pastry dough, start by cutting the cold butter into cubes.
  2. Add half of the flour, the white sugar, and salt into a food processor. Pulse the flour with the butter, and then add the milk. Pulse with the remaining flour until a soft dough forms.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough into a square by folding it multiple times.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. To make the filling, add the corn syrup into a mixing bowl. Add in the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Mix in the egg, and then mix in the softened butter. Be sure the mixture is free of any large clumps.
  7. Once the dough is chilled, prep a surface with plenty of flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out and flatten the dough. Use a large cup or a measuring cup to cut circles into the dough.
  8. Grease a cupcake pan with cooking spray, and then press a circle of dough into each well to form the tart shell. Poke the bottom of the shell with a fork.
  9. Use a measuring cup to fill each tart shell. Be sure to only fill halfway full.
  10. Bake the tarts at 350 F for 25 minutes until the tops are bubbling and golden brown.
  11. Once baked, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool completely before enjoying.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 331
Total Fat 16.0 g
Saturated Fat 9.9 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 54.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 43.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 20.0 g
Sodium 116.8 mg
Protein 3.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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