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elaine's best butter tarts

Recipe by
Elaine Douglas
Vancouver, BC

This is a traditional English Canadian dessert that you can find in any bakery or grocery store in Canada. The earliest published Canadian recipe is from Barrie, Ontario dating back to 1900 and can be found in The Women’s Auxiliary of the Royal Victoria Hospital Cookbook. Sometimes maple sugar or maple syrup is substituted for brown sugar. Purists will say that walnuts do not belong in the filling, but I like the crunch. Since I do not often have cream on hand in the fridge, I have often successfully substituted canned evaporated milk for the 2 tablespoons of cream.

yield 18 serving(s)
prep time 15 Min
cook time 20 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For elaine's best butter tarts

  • ½ cup butter (never, ever margarine)
  • 1 ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar or 1 cup dark brown sugar plus 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped fresh walnuts
  • 18 unbaked small tart shells (pre-prepared from the grocery store or home made)

How To Make elaine's best butter tarts

  • 1
    Melt together butter and sugar over low heat. Remove from heat and add raisins; let cool.
  • 2
    In medium bowl beat together eggs, cream and vanilla. Stir in nuts, then butter-sugar mixture.
  • 3
    Spoon butter mixture into tart shells, filling 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree F (200 degree C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes until pastry is golden and filling puffed up but firm. Remove from moulds and cool on racks. Makes 18 tarts. It makes more if you use frozen tart shells from the supermarket. These tarts are all about the delicious gooey centers and less about the raisins and nuts.
  • 4
    Option: you can leave out the nuts and raisins and just use the custard if you like.