Butter Tart Squares

Butter tarts rank right up there as one of the foods considered to be quintessentially Canadian. Their origin is hotly debated – as is the inclusion of raisins – but they are nearly universally loved. If you’re pressed for time, these squares are a great alternative as they are easier to prepare than tarts, with the quick shortbread base a perfect substitute for pastry. I make these squares often because of their simplicity; if you want to go old-school, here’s a fantastic recipe for classic, corn-syrup free butter tarts.

These squares deliver all the flavour of fabulous butter tarts without the fuss of dealing with pastry!

These squares deliver all the flavour of fabulous butter tarts without the fuss of dealing with pastry!



  • 2 cups (500 mL) flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) butter


  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250 mL) raisins (if you must)
  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) chopped pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line a 9 x 13 inch (22.5 x 32.5 cm) pan with parchment paper.
  • Make crust by combining flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl. With a hand or stand mixer, beat together until crumbly.
  • Press crust firmly into the parchment-lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • While crust is baking, prepare topping. In a large bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, flour, melted butter and vanilla until well blended (I use a stand or electric mixer; a whisk works fine too).
  • Pour topping over baked crust. Sprinkle raisins (if you must) and/or nuts over the topping.
  • Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Let cool thoroughly and cut into squares.
  • Refrigerate or freeze if not serving within 48 hours.

About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
This entry was posted in Desserts, Make Ahead, Party and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Butter Tart Squares

  1. Mary says:

    I’ve tried so many of these “easy” butter tarts, I’ve lost count!! This one looks like it might be a winner. Tomorrow, while it’s rainy &cold methinks. The great raisin debate goes on in this house; but the cook usually wins–no raisins!!!;-)

    • Paula Roy says:

      I have tried lots of different versions as well, Mary, and was never quite satisfied – hence the need to come up with my own (and I think it’s pretty great). I’m 100% with you on the “no raisins” side! 🙂 Let me know what you think if you do bake up some sunshine on this dreary day.

  2. Pingback: Paula Roy’s Favourite Foods – Episode 11 recipes | Constantly Cooking

  3. Heroh says:

    I don’t know if I blended the eggs too long, or if this recipe is missing the traditional corn syrup addition to butter tarts that I’m familiar with, but after baking it never got that runny, gooey actual-butter-tart quality to it. It was semi-firm on the inside and spongy.

  4. Pingback: Road tripping: the Kawarthas-Northumberland Butter Tart Tour part 2 | Constantly Cooking

  5. Pingback: Butter tart-inspired biscuits | Constantly Cooking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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