Pecan Butter Tarts

Pecan Butter Tarts
Photography by Maya Visnyei / Recipe Development and Food Styling by Emily Turner

While much of Canada’s cuisine has European roots and inspiration, butter tarts, which first appeared in Ontario in the early 1900s, are uniquely Canadian. Some insist that the only authentic filling must include raisins, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. You can even substitute chopped pecans with coconut or chocolate for a tasty twist. Get more Canadian recipes in our November/December Issue

Pecan Butter Tarts
Makes 12
  • Flaky Pastry Dough (recipe below)
  • ¾ cup (165 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (85 grams) dark corn syrup
  • ¼ cup (85 grams) Grade A amber maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (57 grams) chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of Flaky Pastry Dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4½- to 5-inch round cutter, cut dough into 6 circles, rerolling scraps once. Gently press rounds into prepared muffin cups, letting edges fold up around each other and extend over sides of pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, and salt. Spoon 2 to 2½ teaspoons (4 to 5 grams) pecans into each prepared crust. Pour filling on top of pecans to ½ inch below edge of cup.
  4. Bake in bottom third of oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Bake until filling is set and puffed, 8 to 10 minutes more, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. (If you want a runnier texture to your butter tart, bake just until filling is set, 3 to 4 minutes less.) Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of tarts, and let cool completely in pan. (If you have difficulty removing tarts from pan, freeze for 20 minutes before popping them out.) Bring to room temperature before serving.

Flaky Puff Pastry
Makes enough for 12 pastries
  • 3½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (113 grams) cold all-vegetable shortening, cubed
  • ½ cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ⅓ to ½ cup (80 to 120 grams) cold water, divided
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) fresh lemon juice
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, sugar, and salt; pulse until combined. Add cold shortening and butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup (80 grams) cold water, egg yolk, and lemon juice. With processor running, gradually add egg yolk mixture, pulsing until dough begins to come together. (Dough will be softer than a pie dough, but you don’t want it to be sticky.) Add remaining water, if necessary.
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until dough comes together. Divide in half. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll half of dough to ¼-inch thickness. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for 1 hour.


Previous articleApricot-Almond Hand Pies
Next articleKey Lime Pie


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.