Canadian Dessert Recipes

Granny’s Butter Tarts

This iconic Canadian pastry is filled with butter, sugar, syrup, egg and raisins, then baked until the filling has gelled.

Dating back to pioneer days, the genuinely beloved butter tart is the quintessential Canadian treat.  Its origins can be traced back to Central Ontario with the first published recipe appearing in 1900 in Barrie. Nowadays, the butter tart is celebrated with festivals, contests and tourist trails around the Kawarthas and Muskoka Lakes.  The annual Butter Tart Festival takes place in Midland, which just happens to be the town where my Granny was born.

Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Basil Thomas

Butter tarts are a real family favourite and my mom always makes a batch at Christmas to add to the sweet tray. They are always the first things to go, of course.  So not wanting to wait until next Christmas for this treat, I asked my mom to share her recipe.  

Granny’s Butter Tarts

This iconic Canadian pastry tart is filled with butter, sugar, syrup, egg and raisin, then baked until gelled the filling has gelled.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: butter, dessert, tart
Servings: 12
Calories: 290kcal
Author: Kevin Lamoureux


  • ½ cup brown sugar lightly packed
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter 4 tbsp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 1 dozen prepared tart shells medium size


  • Preheat the oven to 425 °F
  • Soak the raisins in water.
  • After the tart shells have thawed (about 10 minutes) arrange them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the raisins, mix well.
  • Drain the water from the raisins.
  • Pour the tart filling into the tarts, filling each tart about ¾ full.
  • Add the raisins to the tarts and distribute them evenly.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes on the oven’s lower rack until tart filling has gelled.


A convenient, time saving step is to use prepared tart shells sold frozen at most supermarkets. Thaw them for about 10 minutes before filling them. Otherwise, you’ll need to make pastry dough from scratch. The quantity required for 12 tarts is made from: 2 cups flour, 1 cup shortening. If you use Tenderflake, you’ll find the instructions on the box.

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