No celebration is complete without our delightfully decadent butter tarts!
These easy, old fashioned, mini tarts are just like Grandma’s! Made with premade shells, our tarts deliver rich, buttery flavor. We make them at Christmas (and all year ’round actually) and serve them on our cookie platter along with rum balls, shortbread, Nanaimo squares, and sugar cookies. Don’t forget cranberry pistachio bark for the platter too, another favorite.
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What is a Butter Tart?
A Canadian classic dessert, homemade butter tarts are made with a simple filling baked into a light, fluffy pastry shell. Or, they can be made with a handmade shortbread crust. They are baked until the filling is semi-solid on the top, but the inside remains soft, even a little runny. They’re reminiscent of mini pecan pies, with a more buttery flavor.
Canadians are so proud of their butter tarts, there is even an annual Butter Tart Festival in Ontario!
Who Doesn’t Love Butter Tarts?
Canadians are onto something! Butter tarts are easy to make, decadently delicious, and versatile enough for all kinds of add-ins and mix-ins. A buttery, caramelly flavor delicate enough for an afternoon tea, but festive enough for a party or potluck any time of year!
This butter tart recipe is a no-fail, melt in your mouth take on the Canadian Living or Company’s Coming version, but with a premade crust that saves time! We’ve made butter tarts ever since I was a kid, and my friend shared her trusty, simple, and tasty recipe and I was hooked!
Butter Tart Filling Ingredients
The key to the best butter tarts is to use real ingredients!
REAL BUTTER No margarine or butter substitutes here, nor skimping on amounts. Real butter is what gives butter tarts their signature flavor!
SWEETENER Skip the sugar substitutes for this recipe. Butter tarts are a treat that isn’t for every day, so go all out. Real brown sugar and dark corn syrup are the basics. The dark sugar and dark corn syrup give the tart filling a deep, rich, salted caramel-like flavor that is unforgettable.
FRUIT Use fresh, soft currants for raisins. I sometimes switch out the currants for pecans, and add dried cranberries too!
How to Make Easy Butter Tarts
- Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium. PRO TIP: For easier creaming, start with room temperature butter (preferably unsalted).
- Add corn syrup, egg, and salt and cream until smooth. Fold in the currants (or other mix-ins) with a spatula.
- Divide the mixture equally into unbaked tart shells. Bake according to recipe instructions at the bottom of this post. The filling should be barely set and the crust light brown (filling will continue to set as it cools).
They are best served when they are room temperature, but it is hard to not eat one right out of the oven! And if you prefer them warm, remove the tart from the tin and heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds for some ooey-gooey deliciousness!
Tips and Variations
Butter tarts are easy to make and with a few tips and tricks, they’re guaranteed to be perfect every time!
- Space tart shells at least one inch away from each other on the baking sheet so the crusts can brown evenly.
- If you are using nuts or pecans, toast them in a sauté pan for a few minutes, let them cool, and then chop them finely. This ensures they’ll stay super crunchy!
- For a no-raisin version, switch out currants for dried cranberry, candied fruit, coconut, or nuts to make the recipe your own!
- Add mini chocolate chips and a dash of rum for Chocolate Rum Tarts, or make butter tart cookies, a cake, or squares (top with M&M’s for a colorful look)!
How Long Do Butter Tarts Last?
- Butter tarts are made with real butter and are very moist and they will last about 3 days on the counter, or one week in the refrigerator. Keep in a sealed container with a slice of bread to soak up any extra moisture. Remove from the fridge about one hour before serving.
- Butter tarts freeze beautifully. Once tarts have been baked and cooled, they can be frozen for up to 3 months. Simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a large zippered bag with the date on the outside. Let them thaw at room temperature before serving.
- ¼ cup butter softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup corn syrup dark preferred
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup currants or raisins
- 12 tart shells premade or homemade, NOT prebaked
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place individual tart shells on baking tray if applicable.
- In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
- Add corn syrup, egg, and salt until mixed through. Fold in currants.
- Divide mixture evenly between unbaked tart shells.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until filling is just set and crust is light brown.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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