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Classic Butter Tarts

20 minutes
10 minutes

This iconic tart shares characteristics with French-Canadian sugar pie and with American pecan pie but is its own unique dessert. While you can make your own decisions about the inclusion of raisins (some do, some don’t – it’s a bit like pineapple on pizza), home-made pastry takes these sugary sweet tarts to the next level. Luckily, we’ve included a family recipe for pastry as well so you’re all set to get baking this Canadian treat!



  • 1/2 c. Butter
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Milk or Cream
  • 3/4 c. Raisins
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp Vanilla


Gram's Best Pastry

  • 5 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 lb Lard
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Vinegar
  • 2/3 c. Cold Water




  1. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Dish into prepared, unbaked tart shells. (See below for Gram’s Best Pastry, or use store bought shells)
  4. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake until golden.


Gram's Best Pastry

  1. Mix flour and salt in stand mixer.
  2. Cut in lard, and blend until consistency of oatmeal; set aside.
  3. In a 2 cup measuring cup beat egg.
  4. Add sugar and vinegar to egg, and mix well.
  5. Stir in water.
  6. Add liquid to dry mixture and mix by hand till it comes together in a rough ball.
  7. Flatten into a disc and wrap in wax paper. Place wrapped disc in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.
  8. To use, remove portion to use an hour before needed.


  1. For tarts: roll flat, and cut into rounds.
  2. Press pastry rounds gently into greased muffin tins; fill and bake as above.



Image credit: WestJet Magazine – photo from Michael Hurcomb 

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