Butter Tarts [Happy Canada Day!]


Butter Tarts are so controversial that I considered keeping this recipe to myself. Its a tricky little thing to navigate but when you find one that fits your bill, it truly is a perfect Canadian treat.


My butter tarts include:

Thick, flaky pastry

Chewy caramelized top

Thick, but not stiff filling, It will run once its cut, but not down your arm.


With such a sweet filling I have to balance it somehow. There is a hefty dose of lemon zest in the pastry but you would hardly even notice.


Cut the shortening/butter until it forms balls the size of hazelnuts.


Stir in the ice water, egg yolk and lemon juice until a shaggy dough forms.


Gently fold in the whipped egg whites until the dough comes together.


Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for at least one hour before rolling.


The filling is heated slightly to create a beautiful golden syrup.


Its much easier and tidier to transfer the filling into a measuring cup for pouring.


I always make my tart shells higher than than pan to allow for shrinkage. This prevents the filling from bubbling over and making you want to scream when you take them out of the pan.


This is my perfect butter tart.

Butter Tarts



4 cups all purpose flour

1 pound shortening or butter (I do half and half)

Lemon zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp salt

1 egg, separated

Butter Tart Filling

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup or corn syrup

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a larger bowl combine the flour, salt and lemon zest in a bowl. Whisk it together. Cut in the shortening until pea sized dough forms.
  3. In a one cup measuring cup add the egg yolk and lemon juice. Fill to the one cup measuring line with ice water. Add this to the pastry.
  4. In a bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add this to the pastry and mix until a cohesive ball forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  5. Filling: In a medium saucepan melt the butter, add the brown sugar, syrup, salt and vanilla. Mix until the syrup comes together. Remove from the heat and add the eggs.
  6. Pour the filling into a measuring cup with a spout to make it easy to fill the tart shells.
  7. Roll out the pastry and cut using a large round pastry cutter. Place disk in the wells of the muffin pan.
  8. Pour in the filling until about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 15-ish minutes or until the pastry begins to brown.
  9. Leave them in the pan for about five minutes before removing.



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