Alright, the cat’s going to be let out of the bag, the chicken’s gonna flew the coop and all that jazz. Yes, I know that was horrible grammar, and the grammar police are coming as we speak. But not before I share my famous butter tart recipe, the one that is from my Grandma Marion’s archives of recipes.

Ok maybe not famous. But I DO really and truly have one paying customer who every Christmas emails me and asks for a good 6 dozen, and this year is no different. And does it make it better than she’s a baker’s daughter and she asks little ol’ ME to make her Christmas butter tarts? True story. You can ask her. She’s also another of my totally fabulous photographer friends. You can check out her site Fresh! Images by Tasha.

On to the butter tarts!

Ingredients Needed

1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of raisins
1/3 cup or margarine or butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tsp vanilla
15-18 unsweetened and unbaked tart shells

So. Here is my deep, dark, nasty secret; I don’t use butter in my butter tarts. I know, I know. It’s false advertising, it’s a mockery of the name, yada yada yada. What it comes down to is :

a) Tasha, my one and only customer, never complains.

b) we have run tests in my very own kitchen with butter and margarine tarts, and margarine tastes better. Seriously.

So there you have it. My skeleton is out of the closest, my dirty laundry aired.

You can use butter if you want, but I urge you to seriously consider margarine. Baking purity be dammed, the taste is what matters, people.

Melt your margarine, then add in the vanilla,egg, cream and brown sugar. The lovely part about these is they are SO easy and fast to make. Throw it all in, mix the ever-livin’ devil out of it, and you are good.


Now add in your raisins, and half a cup is the bare minimum I use. I find that sometimes there is too much liquid and not enough raisins by the time I reach the end, be brave and just add in what you need at that point.

Put your tart shells, still frozen, on the tray and fill a good 3/4 of the way. I say still frozen because I have found when they are defrosted the filling leaks through the pasty, not ruining them, but making them softer. A good frozen tart shell will hold the contents in, and cook at the same time.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until the rims of the tarts are beautifully browned.

Now, perhaps next year I will try and make my own tart shells, and make my own pastry, but there’s an adage I like to use when it comes to my baking: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I have never had a complaint that I used pre-bought shells and actually everyone is too busy drooling and grabbing more tarts to really notice or care. The filling is the most important part, of course, but it works to perfection with the pre-made tart shells.