Listen to Your Mum

“Be careful not to overfill them. When they overflow you’ll lose almost all of the filling.” She warned, across the city, through the phone line.

I wrote it down at the bottom of the recipe; do not overfill. It’s just that after the whisking, the rolling, cookie cutting and pressing I stood with a great big bowl of filling and overfilled almost every tart shell. The debate of whether or not to risk overflowing butter tarts by maximizing the ratio of gooey delectable filling to pastry went to the side of risking overfilling.

The moral of the story? Listen to your Mum, she knows what she’s talking about. If she says to be careful not to overfill when she gives you a recipe, don’t push your luck. To my good fortune though, another batch is not too difficult to make, and an overflown butter tart is still very much worth eating.

Butter Tarts

1/2 Cup raisins or currants

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1/2 C corn syrup

1 egg

2 Tbsp softened butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp white vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

Not-So-Secret Pie Crust


  • Put your raisins or currants in a bowl and cover with hot water from a recently boiled kettle. Allow them to sit and plump up while you prepare everything else.
  • Gather a bowl and a whisk for making the filling.
  • Put the brown sugar, corn syrup, egg, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt into the bowl and whisk frantically until the filling is uniform.

Why does it seem like this is a lot of filling for what the recipe calls? I made a triple batch.

  • Roll out the pie crust to 1/4-1/8″ thickness. Cut out rounds of pastry with a biscuit cutter or an inverted cup.
  • Press the pastry circles into the wells of a muffin pan (or mini muffin pan for mini butter tarts).
  • Drain your raisins/currants. They should be nice and plump now. Put some of the fruit into each of the tart shells. Different people like different amounts of raisins, I like enough to at least cover the bottom of the tart.
  • Pour the butter tart filling into the shells, being careful not to overfill.

See the upper left corner? That is overfull.

  • Bake in a 425° oven until the pastry is golden and the filling is puffed (~1o minutes).

From what I’ve read, it seems like butter tarts are kind of a Canadian thing. I cannot imagine Christmas, or trips to West Hawk Lake for that matter, without them. And these ones, my mum’s gooey butter tarts are the best. The sticky-sweet brown sugary filling is somewhat reminiscent of a pecan pie (just trying to give those of you who haven’t had them a reference point) without the pecans, or the Quebecois tarte au sucre. Neither are the same though. We’re already running out of them, so we’re going to have to make another batch in order to have some remaining at Christmas!

Mr. says: I love butter tarts during the holidays. They are a party platter staple. If you cheat and buy the tart shells it shortens the process of making butter tarts greatly.

This time last year: Cheater Labneh Tortellini

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