Best buttertart quest: part three

I’ve made it to the end, gentle readers. I’ve created what is, for my merry band of tasters at least, the ULTIMATE BUTTER TART!

What makes this tart worthy of such a moniker?
• The pastry is ultra flaky and completely unsweetened so that it’s a perfect foil for the very sweet filling.
• The filling is gooey but softly set so that there is no dripping.
• The filling has a buttery but nuanced flavour with a positive, non-sugary after taste.
• The tarts are bigger than most so they fulfill a craving completely (after all, if you’re going to eat a tart, make it worth your while!).
• They freeze beautifully so that you can always have them ready and waiting for your next craving!

My recipe does have one flaw that I’ve decided to accept since the end results are so delicious: the recipe below makes enough filling to make a baker’s dozen (that’s 13 tarts). I recommend using a ramekin to make that baker’s tart for yourself from the pastry scraps.

Dana’s Best Butter Tart

ice cubes
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) cold lard or shortening (8 oz/250 g)
1 tsp (5 mL) white vinegar or lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (250 mL) each softened unsalted butter, lightly packed dark brown sugar and Lyle’s golden syrup
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
11/2 tsp (7 mL) fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/16 tsp (pinch) grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (125 mL) soaked, drained dried currants

Place three ice cubes in a measuring cup and add enough water to cover. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour and salt. Blend well. Cut the cold lard into cubes and add to the food processor. Use the pulse button to cut in the lard just until the mixture resembles large flake oatmeal.

In a glass measuring cup, whisk the vinegar and the egg. Add enough of the reserved ice water to make ½ cup (125 mL). With the motor of the food processor running, pour in the egg mixture. Blend until the mixture forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. If necessary, knead to make a smooth ball. Press into a disk and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Roll out dough to 3/8-inch thickness adding extra flour to prevent sticking. Cut to fit 5 oz (125 mL) muffin tins using a 6-inch (18-cm) cutter. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Preheat the oven to 450°F (225°C). Beat the butter until light; beat in the brown sugar until fluffy. Add the syrup and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, vanilla and nutmeg.

Divide the currants evenly between the pastry cups. Spoon in the filling, adding just enough to each cup that it is filled but a band of pastry still shows around the edges (you should have enough filling left over to fill a 13th tart).

Bake on the lowest oven rack for 10 minutes; reduce the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until pastry is golden and the filling in each cup has bubbled and darkened.

Remove pan from oven and use a skewer to remove any overspill that will harden as the tarts cool. Cool tarts in pan for 15 minutes. Gently remove from pans using a palette knife and cool on a rack for at least 2 hours (the pastry needs to fully set). Makes 12 (4.5 to 5 oz) tarts.


32 Responses to Best buttertart quest: part three

  1. These look delicious. I’ve never seen nutmeg used and currants are a nice twist. Kudos also for not going the corn syrup route.

    As for the last instruction to cool 2 hours — Are you kidding me? My family has to be beaten off with a whisk as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Members have been know to suffer hot butter tart related injuries. I guess they’ll never know the true joys of fully set pastry.

  2. beth says:

    Dana, I am going to make these tarts ASAP – likely Wednesday night. I’ll pop back and tell you how they turn out!

  3. Rosa says:

    That tart looks ever so scrumptious! I’m drooling…



  4. Y says:

    I’ve never heard of butter tart before. Looks fab!

  5. Cakelaw says:

    This lloks delicious! I have wanted to try a typical Canadian butter tart since I first heard of them.

  6. Butter butter butter what a treat. What a great picnic/dinner party food and so easy and able to be frozen even better. Thanks for the comments on my blog.

  7. Deeba says:

    Oooooh that looks good! I love it that they can be made in advance! Totally yummy!!

  8. danamccauley says:

    Thanks for your great comments folks. Cakelaw, if you try them come back and let me know what you think. Just remember – our Canadian tablespoons are 15 mL while in Australia I think yours are 20 ml.

  9. Hélène says:

    Yummy! I have a Halloween Party coming up and I think that I will be making those. Have you tried them without the currants? Can’t wait to hear the reactions from the people at the party.

  10. Amy says:

    Congratulations….but when do WE get to try them???

  11. danamccauley says:

    Amy: Now that you have the recipe you can make them anytime!

  12. Kevin says:

    Now that is one tasty quest! Those butter tarts look so good! Bookmarked!

  13. […] the menu super simple: charcuterie platter, frisée salad, braised lamb shanks, creamy polenta and buttertarts. I knew the food would be tasty but not super memorable so I added an experiential element to the […]

  14. […] my blog, you could get the impression that all I ever make are butter tarts, banana bread and butterscotch pudding (otherwise known around my house as the sugary trinity of […]

  15. Lynne says:

    I’m in Ontario Canada and do plan a visit to the Maid’s Cottage in Newmarket in the near future! Butter tarts are turning into a mini obsession for me as well. One question: where can I find Lyle’s Golden Syrup? Never heard of it or seen it locally. Dying to try your recipe but on standby until I can find the syrup….

  16. danamccauley says:

    Lyle’s is in the same aisle as the oatmeal, pancake mix and other syrups at most grocery stores. I’ve bought it at Metro, Longos, etc…

    Here’s a link to what the bottle looks like:

  17. Lynne says:

    Thanks for your input Dana! Locally we have here in Sudbury Ontario: Loeb, Yours Independent Grocers, Foodland, Food Basics, and A&P. I’ve never seen the Lyle’s before but will make the rounds again, just in case. I’ve been checking both with other syrups and speciality food aisles with no luck yet! I just may have to stock up in Newmarket on my next trip down. Thanks again for your help. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to your recipe in the very near future!

  18. danamccauley says:

    Lynne, I know you’ll be able to get it in Sudbury. My mom used to buy it there to take to the Manitoulin Island when she and my dad had a farm there. If you can’t find it, beehive corn syrup works, too. It’s just not as buttery tasting.

  19. Lynne says:

    Ok. Thanks again! Hunt is on….

  20. Lynne says:

    One thing…by “soaked, drained dried currants” do you mean soak the dry currants in hot water for 30 mins, drain, and dry them before adding to the tart shells?

    • danamccauley says:

      The currants can be soaked for just a few minutes in hot water and then drained. I don’t usually dry them at all. The dried refers to the fact that you need to use dried fruit and not freshly picked berries. Good editing catch!

  21. Lynne says:

    Dana, I have tried your recipe and loved it! However, did you ever resolve the issue with the ratio of filling to crust? That would be one criticism I have of most butter tart recipes…

  22. Trudi says:

    Lyles Golden syrup, the original, can be bought in our shop Dickens sweets in Chwk BC…we also mail out! nothing beats the original from England…we import.

  23. I just made these and they are the Best butter tarts I’ve ever had! Thank you SO much for sharing your recipe! I will post an adapted version of this recipe no my food blog within the next two months and will include a link to your website. Thanks again!

  24. […] makes approx. 18 butter tarts; adapted from Dana McCauley’s food blog […]

  25. Marc says:

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe, I did have a problem with it boiling over though. The only thing that I noticed I did differently was I didn’t cook it on the bottom shelf, could this possibly be my issue?

  26. Lissa says:

    LE SIGH!!!! Thanks for making the Ultimate Butter Tart. You’re awesome!

  27. mindfullyspiced says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a Butter tart before. Now, I must …. thanks!

  28. bellini says:

    I have never mastered pastry but when I lived in Southern Ontario I would drive miles and miles for an exceptional butter tart. I remember the best I found being just north of Whitby Ontario near a natural spring where we would go to get water for my hubs beer. Traditional ones with and without raisins and my favourite with pecans. But it was the crust I remember the most. The flakiest most delicious buttery crust on the planet in my experience.

  29. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when
    you could be giving us something informative to read?

  30. Sheri c says:

    I have been searching for a recipe that uses currents.i lost my moms when I found yours I was delighted.i made them and they brought back memories of mom.ty so much.delicious.

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