Elaine's Best Butter Tarts

Elaine Douglas


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.


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

15 Min
20 Min


  • ·
    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.

Printable Recipe Card

About Elaine's Best Butter Tarts

Course/Dish: Pies
Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: Canadian
Other Tags: For Kids, Heirloom

Show 3 Comments & Reviews

Slice Into These Heavenly Pies This Thanksgiving Recipe

Slice Into These Heavenly Pies This Thanksgiving

Kitchen Crew

It doesn't matter how much food I eat there's always room for dessert, especially during the holidays. Pie is what's traditionally served on my Thanksgiving dessert menu. Today, I thought...

Apple Pie Bites Recipe

Apple Pie Bites

Kitchen Crew @JustaPinch

These apple pie bites are such an easy fall dessert recipe! Basically little drops of apple pie heaven! Click here for the Apple Drops (apple pie bites) recipe!

24 Homemade Apple Pie Recipes

24 Homemade Apple Pie Recipes

Kitchen Crew @JustaPinch

Slice into one of these 24 awesome homemade apple pie recipes and have a sweet celebration.