November 8, 2011

Genuine Canadian Butter Tarts - Without Corn Syrup

I had never had a butter tart before moving here to Canada. They may have existed in New York, but I had never had one.

I'm not a huge fan of butter tarts, though my husband, at true Canuck, loves them. He asked me to make a batch of tarts as the ones at the grocery store are expensive and taste like chemicals.

Usually, I don't make tarts, I make Butter Tart Squares. I'm not a fan of the pastry crust in the tarts, I prefer the shortbread base of the squares, but I like my husband and he asked for tarts.

I looked on the internet to see if there was a good recipe for tarts, I was APPALLED to see recipes, "real" Canadian recipes they claimed, that used corn syrup! Ick. They went to all the trouble of making homemade pastry and then used corn syrup. No way was I going to use corn syrup in my tarts, so I used my Butter Tart Square filling recipe.

However, I did use commercial pastry shells. I know I should have made my own crusts, but these days I am more pressed for time than before, so I bailed on the shells. Mea cupla.

The crust of these tarts are crunchy, and tasting of brown sugar. We like it, but you may find that you do not. Maybe a longer bake at a lower temperature (400F for 25- 30 minutes) would prevent the crunchy crust.

Butter Tarts
makes 12 tarts

12 mini tart shells
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
120 raisins (10 per tart shell)

Preheat oven to 450F.

If using homemade crust, make the dough and line 12 muffin cups with the pastry. If using commercial shells, place a shell (still in it's little aluminum tin) inside each muffin cup of a muffin tin. It's easier this way.

Place 10 raisins in the bottom of each shell. You can use more or less, but I found 10 is just enough for us.

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Fill each tart shell to just about the top of the shell, about 6/8ths full.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until tarts are set. Watch carefully as they may burn. You can reduce the oven temperature, or remove them if they start burning.

When baked, remove from oven and let cool. Do NOT be tempted to eat the until they are room temperature!! Trust me, they will taste terrible if you don't wait- I speak from experience.


  1. Thank you so much for this recipe - I lost my own recipe for butter tarts, which also did not use corn syrup, so I was very glad to find this. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without butter tarts!

  2. What's wrong with corn syrup. I know the harmful effects of high fructose corn syrup, but why the concern for regular corn syrup? Just wondering.

    1. Unfortunately we live in a generation where money is more valueable than peoples life quality. Corn is a major staple and because of that Monsanto tells us that it needs to be GMO'd (genetically modified) to produce more crops. This in itself is a lie. It does NOT produce more. What they have done is made it 'Round-up ready'. You know the stuff we can't put on our lawns because it's so harmful! Well it's on the corn (as well as many other crops!) In addition NO longterm studies have been done on GMO crops on how they affect the human gut/body. They are only now finding out the results - very poor results. So IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH, don't eat corn that is not ORGANIC. Look seriously into this. It means our lives!

  3. Well, I have friends who are allergic to corn products, so they can't use corn syrup. Also, I dislike the taste corn syrup adds to baked goods. It's a personal taste, but I prefer not to use it. Trying to find a butter tart recipe without corn syrup is difficult, so I thought I would offer mine.

  4. I've used your recipe for butter tarts probably 5 times now and they turn out fantastic every time!
    Thank you for posting

  5. what is wrong with corm syrup ? that's easy it's not maple and butter and brown sugar dont need no stinkin binder.

    i just literally finished making a batch and if i needed to add corn syrup, i would have done something else. the joy of cooking online has a good recipe that requires you to make your own pastry and omits the odious corn syrup.

    i love butter tarts, and on a comparitive scale based on my mother's tarts i've never gotten higher than 7/10.

  6. I love this recipe! I was looking and trying out recipes from all over, but this one is awesome! for a little variety, I use chocolate chips, semi sweet dark, instead of raisins, and use pecans sometimes too. as well, my family prefers them even more when I use apple cider vinegar instead of regular. thanks so much for this REAL Canadian recipe. much loved in our house!

  7. I use this recipe often! I love it!

  8. Can these be frozen?

  9. Just made a batch for my friends and coworkers for Christmas - I hope they turn out okay ;) Fingers crossed!