Maple butter tarts, or a Canadian classic made even more Canadian! With a sweet toffee-like filling and crisp, flaky pastry, this is a dessert you’ll come back to again and again.
Butter tarts are a classic. But maple butter tarts are a classic only slightly altered, and we think seriously for the better! You can’t go wrong with maple syrup in a Canadian dessert, right?
We took a poll before sharing this recipe. Alex asked all of her friends in Manitoba if they like raisins in their butter tarts – most were in favour – but Kelly is adamant that raisins are not included in Nova Scotia. Sophie maintains that it’s mixed in B.C. and Heidi is pro-raisin. Our instagram poll was mostly anti-raisin. So even though we haven’t added them, but the amounts are in the recipe card if you’d like to.
This recipe is adapted from Alex’s husband’s gran (she’s a Saskatchewanian, and does include raisins), with a Michael Smith twist. His inspired the addition of maple syrup and it’s great.
The types of brown sugar and maple syrup will alter the colour here – we’re noting this here (and discuss more in the tips) to let you know that the tarts aren’t burnt. Dark brown sugar and #2 maple syrup make for a darker, very flavourful filling.
Preheat the oven. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool while you prepare the pastry.
Roll out your pie dough (note to make it ahead of time, the time needed for the dough isn’t included in the recipe card). Cut 9 cm (3.5 in.) rounds from the dough and use them to line a standard muffin tin, pleating when necessary.
This makes 18 tarts, so either use a second muffin tin, or refrigerate the dough off-cuts to roll out again for the second bake. Alternatively, you can use the remaining dough and filling to make butter tart bars.
Add the eggs to a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour the butter into the eggs in a slow stream, whisking while you do so. This prevents any clumping of butter if your eggs were cold.
Whisk in the maple syrup, then add the sugar and vanilla and mix to combine. Whisk well to break up any clumps in the brown sugar.
Add the flour and whisk again to mix throughout. The flour helps to stabilise the filling slightly to make up for the added liquid (the maple syrup).
Fill the prepared tart shells three-quarters full. You can see that some of our tarts bubbled up a little high and went over the edges of the pastry – to avoid this, err to the under-filled side. If you love that chewy toffee texture, then don’t worry about it too much.
Bake the tarts for about 20 minutes, or until the outer edges of the filling are just firm to the touch. The centre should still be soft and will set as they cool. Let them cool in the tin for at least ten minutes before removing.
Tips and Notes
Butter tarts are very sweet and rich. They’re meant to be quite dainty and small, because if they’re too big, it’s impossible to finish a whole one. Ours are about half the height of the cups of a standard muffin tin.
If you prefer, you can use mini tart shells instead of using a muffin tin. We chose this to make it more accessible to every baker rather than needing mini tart tins (though you could use frozen minis, of course!) so they’re easy and cute.
As mentioned above, the darker your sugars, the darker your butter tarts will be. We love using dark maple syrup and brown sugar for a robust, toffee flavour, but if you like something a bit milder, use light brown sugar and a more golden maple syrup.
This filling does bubble during baking due to the higher liquid content with the maple syrup. The end result of that are butter tarts that look a bit more rustic on the top, often missing that smooth top layer, but the flavour is well worth it.
Use any pastry crust you like. We used our all butter pie crust and love the flakey crisp-ness as a counterpoint to the soft, rich filling. If you need a GF option, this is a good one. In that case, rice flour can be used for the white flour in the filling.
We haven’t tried making these vegan, but for dairy-free tarts, use a very good vegan butter in place of the dairy butter, and go for this vegan pie dough on the outside.
Use vanilla extract or powder. Powder is pictured because it’s a bit tricky to get extract right now, but extract is listed in the recipe with powder as a note.
More Maple Syrup Recipes
- 2 large eggs*
- ½ cup (110 g) melted butter
- ½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract**
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) brown sugar
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup (160 g) raisins (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Roll out your pie dough to about 5mm (3/16th in.) thick and cut twelve 9 cm (3.5 in.) rounds with a cookie cutter or other round tool (like a jar lid).
- Line the cups of a standard muffin tin with the pastry. It should come about halfway up the cups.
- Press the remaining dough together and refrigerate, if you have one muffin tin, or roll out again to cut another six rounds.
- Line a further six muffin cups (or repeat with the same tin once it's cooled).
- Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk until very well combined and slightly frothy.
- Pour the melted butter into the eggs in a slow stream, whisking constantly, until combined.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla and mix again.
- Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine. Make sure to mix well here to break up any clumps of sugar.
- Finally, add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Add the raisins if using and stir to evenly distribute.
- Fill the prepared muffin cups ¾ full. Bake the tarts for 20-22 minutes, or until the edges of the filling are just firm to the touch and the filling is still soft.
- Remove the tin(s) from the oven and set it on a rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing the tarts. Cool fully before serving. The tarts will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week and freeze well.
* While it's not mandatory, the filling will be easier to work with if your eggs are at room temperature before beginning.
** Or 1 tsp vanilla powder.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 0gSugar: 21gProtein: 1g
This is an approximation of the nutrition offered in this recipe, and is created using a nutrition calculator.