History in the Making

Canadian Butter Tarts

‘Tis the season for more baked goods than you know what to do with! Normally, I would recommend limiting yourself to one or two treats, but this is the time of year when certain desserts make their only appearance. Butter tarts are one of those desserts- some people make them throughout the year, but most people I know only make them during the holiday season! Henceforth, take any opportunity you can to enjoy a butter tart or two…

Butter tarts are a quintessentially Canadian recipe, and regional variations can be found all over the country! I know that every country and region claims that their food is the best, and while I completely accept that some Canadian food is kind of weird and bizarre, butter tarts truly are the best of the best. I’ve given butter tarts to many people visiting Canada, and they have been enjoyed every single time! (The same can’t be said of nanaimo bars, ketchup chips, and poutine.) This is an easy to make recipe for butter tarts, for the perfect addition to your holiday menu!

Canadian Butter Tarts

Now, Wikipedia tells me that there are similar desserts in England, Scotland, France, and even the Southern US that all have different things added- dried fruit, syrups, and different nuts. Butter tarts here can be plain (this recipe), with raisins, walnuts, or both! I am a purist and don’t really like raisin or walnut butter tarts if a plain tart is available (but will really eat any of them at the end of the day). You can also make a butter tart bar on a shortbread base, but I find that tarts are easy for parties as they are already portioned and you can buy pre-made tart shells. (I made a pie shell once; while it was fun to try, I don’t feel like I need to make pastry shells all of the time…) I struggled with butter tarts for a really long time, and I’ve finally tackled them!! I decided it was time to share the magic with everyone else…

butter tarts

Butter Tarts 

-20-24 tart shells
-2 eggs (lightly beaten)
-2 tbsp melted butter
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-2 tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp vanilla
– pinch of salt
-1 cup of raisins
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1. Pre-heat oven to 340°F/170°C.
2. In large bowl, gently whisk melted butter with eggs.
3. Blend in sugar, baking powder, flour, vanilla, and salt. (Mix in raisins and/or walnuts if included!
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tarts are golden brown and top is slightly springy.
5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy!

individual butter tart

I haven’t tried to make a butter tart bar recently but now that I’ve tackled the tarts I’m going to brave the bars! (Don’t ask why I’ve suddenly jumped in alliteration…) Once you have tackled making the tart filling, it is really quite easy to handle the change to a bar or tart or even a pie if you so wished! If you would like to see a bar recipe, let me know 🙂 I’ll have more baking recipes to share in the near future for your potlucks and parties and exchanges!

What is your favourite holiday dessert to share? 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian!
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