A simpler take on the classic Canadian butter tart. These squares feature a sweet and gooey filling that is complimented perfectly by a crisp shortbread crust. Take these squares up a notch by adding chopped pecans or raisins.


Preheat oven to 350°F (180⁰C). Grease 8-inch (20 cm) square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or oil.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, combine butter, flour, icing sugar and salt. (Mixture will appear crumbly but should hold together when pressed with your fingertips.) Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Remove from oven; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.

Filling: Meanwhile, in a large, clean bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, flour, vinegar and vanilla until smooth. Pour mixture over cooled base. Bake for 35 minutes or until mixture bubbles and is set in the middle.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.

Tip: For extra flavour add 1 cup (250 mL) of chopped pecans or ½ cup (125 mL) of raisins. Simply sprinkle evenly over filling before baking. 


Are butter tarts a Canadian thing?

Although the origin of the butter tart is debated, it is widely agreed that the butter tart was invented by Canadian pioneers sometime between the 17th and 19th century. The butter tart is highly regarded in Canada, and is celebrated annually through various butter tart festivals. No matter where it came from, there is no question that the butter tart is an iconic Canadian staple!

What makes butter tarts runny?

Although some individuals prefer a thicker filling, it is mainly believed that the filling of a butter tart should be runny. Butter tart fillings with more maple or corn syrup will generally be runnier. In addition, butter tarts that are baked for a shorter period of time may also be runnier.

If you are aiming for a thicker filling, or your filling is just too runny, try baking your tart for a couple minutes longer. This can help evaporate some of the liquid from the filling, making it thicker. Another method to try is adding an extra egg to the filling mixture before baking to help bind the ingredients together.

Can you freeze butter squares?

Butter squares can be kept frozen for up to 3 months in an air-tight bag. To defrost, move the butter squares to the fridge and let sit for a couple of hours.

How do you keep butter tarts from crystallizing?

Butter tart fillings are high in sugar, which is also known as sucrose. Sucrose naturally wants to crystalize, which is how granulated sugar is made from simple sugars like fructose and glucose. To reduce the amount of crystallization in the butter tart filling when baking, try adding some acidity (i.e. lemon juice or 1 spoon of corn syrup). This may help to unbind the sugar and make the filling more runny.

Can I put walnuts or pecans in butter tart bars?

Walnuts, pecans and raisins make great additions to butter tart bars. We recommend chopping up your desired nut or raisin and sprinkling it over top of the bars before baking.

In partnership with Ontario Maple.

Brought to you by: Egg Farmers of Ontario