Classic Canadian Buttertarts with Caramel Sauce

Here is our prize-winning recipe for the recent Buttertart Competition held at The Culinary Studio. If you are a buttertart lover, you will enjoy this classic Canadian favourite. Happy tasting!



  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup bleached cake flour (we prefer Swans Down)
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsps chilled vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup ice water (plus a few droplets if necessary)


  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract


  1. To make crust: Put the flour, salt and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly.  Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times.  Remove the cover and feel the dough (it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together).  It’s important not to over mix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine. If it is too dry, pulse in droplets more water.  From now on work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.
  2. Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass.  For the final blending, rapidly and roughly with the heel (not the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you in a 6-inch smear.
  3. Form the dough into a disc (it should be fairly smooth and pliable).  Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and refrigerate.  Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax the gluten.
  4. To make filling: Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
  5. In a bowl, whisk sugar, corn syrup and butter by hand until combined.  Whisk in eggs, then vinegar and vanilla.
  6. Sprinkle a few raisins in the bottom of each muffin cup and pour filling over the raisins.
  7. Bake the tarts for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to 375 °F and continue baking until butter tart filling starts to dome, about 20 more minutes.  Cool tarts in the tin, and chill the tarts in the tin before removing.  Drizzle with Caramel Sauce before serving.
  8. To make Caramel Sauce: Bring sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and water to a boil over high heat in a covered heavy-bottomed saucepot. Do not stir! Remove lid once boiling and let sugar cook, brushing sides of the pot right against sugar with cool water once or twice, until an amber colour. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream (watch out for steam). Stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
  9. Caramel sauce can be prepared ahead and chilled until ready to serve. Simply heat in microwave to warm. Carmel sauce will keep up to a week refrigerated. Yield: approximately 1 1/2 cups.



Makes 12 servings

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