Butter tarts are a favourite Canadian tradition, and this recipe is gluten-free!
This is probably the most decadent recipe you’ll see on this website. Don’t worry. I’ll be back to vegetables in the New Year!
If you’re not familiar with the butter tart, I would describe it as being like a little pecan pie. However, it’s usually runnier inside. Butter tarts were enjoyed by pioneer Canadians with the first published recipes dating back to the early 1900’s. Now we have butter tart festivals, contests, and tours.
Some like butter tarts made with nuts, usually pecans or walnuts. Others prefer raisins, currants, or a combination of any of these. Coconut is another option. This recipe can be made any of these ways, so customize them to suit your taste. I’d love to hear how you like your butter tarts!
I’ve tried lots of butter tart recipes over the years. Some turn out runny. Others are firmer in the centre. Naturally, flavour varies from recipe to recipe. Eventually, I took the ingredients I liked best, substituted the usual corn syrup with maple syrup, and have been making them this way ever since. Whenever I visit my kids, they like me to make them butter tarts whether we’re at our house or theirs. I even make a dairy-free version by substituting coconut oil for the butter. It’s good, but then it’s not a butter tart, is it!
Although it’s not necessary, I will often make the tart shells and filling a day ahead and keep them refrigerated separately. If we’re traveling with our trailer, I might make the shells and filling at home before we leave. Then I’ll assemble and bake them in the trailer, so we can have fresh tarts away from home. The tart shells freeze well, too. You just need to wrap them well in plastic first.
This recipe calls for 1 cup of raisins and/or nuts. I usually divide 1/2 cup raisins among one dozen tart shells and 1/2 cup pecans among the other dozen.
Tender, Flakey Gluten-Free Pie Crust is the one to use for these tarts. You’ll find the recipe here. You decide whether you’d like to roll it thick or thin. That’s another thing we Canadians are divided on! The important thing is that you leave the tarts in the pans to cool for one hour before removing them. It took me ages to figure this one out! If you try taking the tarts out of the tins too soon, while they’re still warm, they’ll break apart. The waiting is the most difficult part. I practically have to set a timer and stand by to swat fingers until it goes off!