Butter tarts – Experiments of an honorary Canadian


Many of my Canadian friends have suggested that I am (or should be) an honorary Canadian citizen. I have traveled far and wide in the Great White North. I have in fact been to more of Canada than most of my Canadian friends. And I cannot begin to say how much I love Canada, and I have spent most of my adult life talking up Canada as though it is some kind of paradise on earth. Of course it isn’t (otherwise, why would I not live there myself?), but it is one exceedingly fine and vast country that I will promote until my dying day.

Perhaps because I strive to live up to this “honorary Canadian” title, many real Canadians have suggested that I try to make butter tarts. In my first time up to bat (I am keenly aware that using this baseball term (up to bat), I am being a bit American. However, Canada has had baseball teams, the long-gone-but-not-forgotten Montréal Expos among them), I found that it was very much like making pecan pie, as I did for the first time last week. Many recipes called for use of raisins or currants in these tarts, and I was, after all, trying to get rid of the rest of the raisins I had on hand. I used them here, but I think maybe these would be quite good if they were baked without any additions, and perhaps even better if I altered the recipe mixture to include some maple syrup.

I really have no idea how these were perceived by those who ate them. A few people ate them, but comments were few. One commented that they were quite sweet (maybe too sweet) and given that there were so many other choices available, ugly raisin-filled tarts might not be atop people’s preference lists. I shall try these again, though, with a modified recipe.


First prepare your crust. I am using the same one I used for mini pecan pies the other day, so am doubling the recipe shown below. The following recipe has measurements for making one, single crust. If you are making a double pie crust (with a bottom layer and then a crust on top, as is done with fruit pies), you would double this recipe. I doubled the recipe because I was rolling it out and cutting it to fit many small tins.

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
3 tablespoons ice water

Sift flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Stir in enough cold water with a fork until it is just moistened. Form a ball and roll out on a floured surface. (For a regular pie, you would roll into a 12-inch circle for a 9-inch pie. For mini pies, just cut circles about the size of the outer edge of your tins). Fit the rounds into your mini tins and set aside.

1 cup raisins
½ cup butter (melted)
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup (vit sirap or mörk sirap)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400F/200C

Cover the raisins in a bowl of hot water to soften them for about 30 minutes. Strain. Divide the raisins among the tart cups/shells.

Mix butter, sugar, syrup and salt together. Add beaten egg slowly while whisking. Then add vanilla. Pour mixture over the top of the raisins in the tart shells. Bake for 15-20 minutes (I had to lower the temperature of the oven and bake these longer to ensure that the filling set a bit better. It was still too much like liquid/runny, so I baked it another 10-15 minutes on 175C heat).

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