If you are not familiar with Canadian butter tarts, you will have to give them a try. Flaky mini pastry tarts filled with delicious custard, raisins and walnuts. These maple butter tarts are delicious and a true Christmas classic.
For another Canadian Christmas classic, take a look at our Nanaimo Bars.
What is your favourite holiday treat and do you stay faithful to it every year? For me it’s Rugelach or as we call them in Russia Rogalik and for Brad it’s Butter Tarts.
They are as Canadian as can be and although commonly made with corn syrup I have upped the Canadian and yum factor I swapped it for a true Canadian hero-Maple syrup.
What are butter tarts?
Ask anyone from the True North about Butter Tarts and they will break into an emotional ode to the beloved childhood Christmas treat. Light and flaky tarts filled with maple custard, raisins and walnuts. What’s not to love?
If you are reading this from the US, butter tarts are actually quite similar to Pecan Tassies. I hope I won’t lose my citizenship over this comparison!
A great endorsement has come from my son: “When I first looked at them I didn’t think it was my kind of food. But when I bit into one it was DELICIOUS!”
How do you make maple butter tarts?
The look fiddly to make but they are really quite easy – a great treat to make with kids – and if you use a pre-made crust like I did nothing could be faster.
All you have to do is to roll out your pre-made pastry to ⅛″ thickness and cut out rounds to line your muffin tins using a 4″ round cutter. (I didn’t have one so I used a regular glass), then fill them with the maple/nut mixture.
- One thing to watch out for is spills around the muffin cups. You want to keep things fairly clean. Otherwise your spilled filling will caramelize around the edges of the tarts while baking, which makes it nearly impossible to remove them from a pan.
- For a striking effect sprinkle with some icing sugar and drizzle with some melted white chocolate.
More favourite Christmas treats to try:
Recipe originally published in 11/2013. Updated and republished with new photos, text and directions in 11/2019.
- 500g/18oz pie crust prepared or your favourite recipe
- 150g/3/4cup brown sugar, packed
- 125ml/1/2cup maple syrup
- 75ml/1/3cup butter melted
- 2 eggs large
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- 75g/1/2cup raisins
- 60g/1/2cup walnuts, chopped optional
- Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.
- In a medium bowl combine melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, vinegar and salt and whisk until combined. Add raisins and chopped walnuts.
- Roll out the pastry to a ⅛" thickness and cut out rounds with a 4" pastry cutter or use a glass. (My glass was 3.5" in diameter)Line muffin tin cups with pastry rounds. Fill the muffin cups with the maple/nut mixture until ⅔ full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the custard is set and the pastry is golden. Run a knife around the edges of the tarts as soon as you remove them from the oven to release them from the tin.