Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts

freshly baked Classic Canadian Butter Tarts in a white plate

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The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe is literally the only butter tart recipe that my family has ever used. Period. We don’t stray away from it, we don’t mess with it (ok fine, I use cream instead of milk and have we talked about margarine before? Yes, we have. But I’ll talk about it again in a bit.) and this is what we make every year for Christmas.red Christmas table cloth underneath a white plate with 6 pieces of Butter Tarts

Once upon a time, in the days before this website was a full-time job, I used to bake up butter tarts for friends that asked me to during the holiday season. I’d charge them for my time and my ingredients and they were thrilled, because these were the best butter tarts that they had ever tasted.

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ll know that it’s because of margarine.

Sigh.

Look. I get a hard time about this EVERY TIME I TALK ABOUT IT but I’m going to talk about it again.

Butter tarts taste great with a non-hydrogenated margarine as well. Mike actually prefers the taste of margarine in them. I also make my Whipped Shortbread with half margarine when I want them to hold a beautiful dome shape.

Do what you want with this information, I’m washing my hands of the matter entirely now 😉

Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts in a white plate ready to be enjoy!

The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe uses no vinegar.

The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe has no nuts.

The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe is perfection.

I honestly have never understood the recipes that have vinegar in them, to be honest. Perhaps that is because I was raised with these butter tarts and every other butter tart pales in comparison to them. I have never tasted a butter tart like this one.

Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts in white plates

You’ll notice that I also use pre-made tart shells and I ain’t about to quit now. I literally make hundreds of butter tarts every Christmas. Sure, I love a homemade pastry tart just as much as the next person but I’m going to be honest here : the filling to pastry ratio is MUCH better with the store-bought shells. Homemade shells are thicker and it’s just not the same.

Seriously. Raise your hand if you have time to make hundreds of butter tarts in homemade shells this time of year. I don’t. I refuse to feel guilty over the fact that I use pre-made tart shells and neither should you – and that’s why you all keep coming here. Gotta keep it real. I’m a cheatin’,  mistreatin’, butter tart eatin’ pre-made tart user. Terrible, I know.

If you are wanting to know my favourite brand of tart shells, it’s the No-Name unsweetened packs of 30 at Superstore ( which might be Loblaw’s for you all out East.) They are cheap, cheerful and most importantly have no hydrogenated oils.

Now I can’t be the only one that grew up with the Five Roses Cookbook prize butter tarts as THE recipe every Christmas. Who else has eaten these amazing little bundles of Canadian joy?

Happy Baking everyone!

Love you more than butter tarts,

Karlynn

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Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts

The Canadian classic The Five Roses Cookbook Prize Butter Tarts recipe, the only butter tart recipe I will ever use!
4.95 from 39 votes
Prep Time
3 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
Canadian
Servings
15 butter tarts
Calories
182
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • cup or margarine or butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 15-18 unsweetened and unbaked tart shells

Instructions
 

  • Kick the tires and light the fires and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Melt your butter then add in the vanilla,egg, cream and brown sugar.
  • Mix in the raisins.
  • Put your tart shells, still frozen, on the tray and fill a good ¾ 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 15-20 minutes, until the rims of the tarts are beautifully browned and the filling is bubbling.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutritional values will vary with products used. 
  • This recipe doubles and triples easily!
 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 182kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 86mg, Potassium: 388mg, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 140IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1.7mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Chris says

    Which cookbook does this come from, exactly? I have the Five Roses Cook Book (Bread Pastry Etc.), both the original 1915 edition and the 1999 reprint (foreward by Elizabeth Baird). The only butter tarts recipe in the book has the following ingredients: 1 egg, 1c brown sugar, 1c currants, “butter size of a walnut” (1oz), flavor to taste.

  2. Tracy Anatole says

    For curiosity sake I was looking through butter tarts recipes and you are the only one I found who nailed it! I’ve been making butter tarts for 40 years with this recipe (although I use only 2 tbsp. butter) and and am not up to changing something that’s not broken. What the heck; today I will add a little more in honor of your most EXCELLENT RECIPE.

  3. Bev Grice says

    Hi, I still use the Five Roses cookbook we bought on our first grocery shopping after getting married in 1967. It remains my go to for so many things. My butter recipe page has been stuck to its mate many many times…I use a knife and carefully separate them!! I can still see it, and while I don’t likely even need the recipe any more, I still get it out and use it! We love these butter tarts and make them fir us, family and friends a few times every year. I have recently switched to store brand unsweetened tart shells – this way we get more filling!!! I am still using butter, though…..Bev

  4. Melissa says

    This is so funny. Like your family, it is the only recipe our family uses, and has been a coveted secret for a long time. (We are fellow Canadians in Alberta). I stumbled across your post about this recipe because I was googling the five roses cookbook in search of purchasing a vintage copy (our mom currently has the only copy, passed on from her mother). Thank you for this post – it is reassuring to know that professionals in the culinary arts agree – this is THE recipe for buttertarts. Period. 🙂5 stars

  5. Susan says

    Haven’t made these in decades!!! Way better than pricey store bought ones here in Ontario Canada! Simple and quick5 stars

  6. Sandra Routliffe says

    I just took these out of the oven. Can’t wait to try them!

    5 stars

  7. Wilma Plishka says

    My cookbook is in the same continue as the other posts. These were the first butter tarts I made – and continue to be my go to recipe!

    5 stars

  8. Gail Paton says

    my sister and I made a bunch yesterday as we do every year for Christmas, my Mum gave me the Five Roses cookbook when I got married in 1968, the cover is long gone and a couple of pages are loose but i love my cook book and these tarts

    5 stars

  9. Yvonne Stadnicki Olson says

    I use the same recipe from my moms old cookbook!! It’s falling apart and I don’t have the back of the book but it has the best recipes. I think it’s five roses flour cook book!

    5 stars

  10. Dawn Farough says

    Love these butter tarts. Her cookbook looks good as well. Flapper pie was one of the pie choices in our household.

    5 stars

  11. Lori Bergman says

    Butter tarts are my favourite thing to make at Xmas and I have to say mine are very good…but I’m gonna give these ones a try!! Thanks!

      • Delia says

        I’ve been making these for about 40 years. The last 30 years with coconut as my husband likes coconut. They don’t seem to taste as sweet. Thanks.

      • Carol White says

        Hello…I am a prairie girl from a farm west of Edmonton and I just made these butter tarts for the first time in 30 years. Shortbread cookies are next. I am in heaven……thank you. Thank you for sharing memories of your childhood….they make me homesick, but still beautiful memories.

  12. Bev Baxter Thomas Batchelor says

    My Mom made these in the 20’s as a child, helping her Mom- the recipe has been passed down thru the years and I just made 2 dozen- the recipe is exactly the same and we don’t fool with perfection!

    5 stars

    • Jennifer Pompa Strong says

      I need this recipe!!!! I love butter tarts!

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      That’s exactly it. I refuse to come up with a new one. This tastes like my childhood. I won’t change a thing!!

    • Jennifer Pompa Strong says

      I can wait to make your shortbreads! They are a favorite every year! I will be adding these butter tarts to my baking!

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Jennifer Pompa Strong man that’s a tasty Christmas!!!

    • Bev Baxter Thomas Batchelor says

      Jen I made Nana’s gumdrop cake- i remember stealing the gumdrops lol So many memories- wish we lived on the same coast so we could have a family bake-a-thon with the kids!

    • Jennifer Pompa Strong says

      Bev Baxter Thomas Batchelor that would be awesome!!! Can I have the gumdrop cake recipe? I don’t have any of her recipes! I never saw her use one!

    • Bev Baxter Thomas Batchelor says

      You can use raisins or chopped walnuts- mom made both- separately- Just click on the pic and the recipe will be available to print.

      5 stars

  13. Betty Ann Mori says

    I have made this recipe for over 40 years.

  14. Rhonda Beeman says

    This is the BEST recipe- used it for ever. But I use currants rather than raisins and always make my own pastry!!

  15. Gail Paton says

    they are the best; my sister and i get together every year before Christmas to bake these , they’re irresistible, but please don’t use frozen shells unless necessary, that’s like serving a succulent lobster on a can of sardines. Homemade pastry adds a lot to their taste. And besides that, frozen shells are too small lol

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Get the large shells! And I wish I had time for homemade but I literally have to make hundreds..and whipped shortbread and mincemeat and work full time hahaha!

    • Gail Paton says

      I’ve never been able to find large ones…i do have to cheat on occasion with frozen but even pie crust mix is better if you’re in a hurry. Happy Baking 🙂

  16. Angela Bickford-Billo says

    These are awesome. I made several dozen last year!

  17. buddiegirl says

    I’m sure this is the recipe my mom has been using for decades.  Didn’t everyone’s mom have a Five Roses Cookbook, lol.

    5 stars

  18. Heather McFadden says

    I love butter tarts, but have always used butter. And our household does not use margarine normally. So I am not in the know of the best margarines to use for baking, especially in this case.

    Karlynn – can you comment what kind of margarine you use? There are different ones out there, with Canola or otherwise, as well as spreadable versions containing both butter and margarine. I honestly would not know which one to purchase for best baking results.

  19. Heather McFadden says

    I love butter tarts, but have always used butter. And our household does not use margarine normally. So I am not in the know of the best margarines to use for baking, especially in this case.

    Karlynn – can you comment what kind of margarine you use? There are different ones out there, with Canola or otherwise, as well as spreadable versions containing both butter and margarine. I honestly would not know which one to purchase for best baking results.5 stars

  20. Victoria says

    I also love this recepie .Bought the Five Roses cook book in 1958 when a just arrived als a new emigrant this was one of the first recepies a tried and still make it every chrismas ,

    love all your recepies thanks .

    5 stars

  21. Victoria says

    I also love this recepie .Bought the Five Roses cook book in 1958 when a just arrived als a new emigrant this was one of the first recepies a tried and still make it every chrismas ,

    love all your recepies thanks .5 stars

  22. Pauline Burns says

    I love this recipe, it’s the one I grew up using. My mom had an old copy of the Five Roses cookbook and when I moved out, I bought a newer edition of it for myself. I have a bunch of other favourite recipes in that book that I keep going back to even though the pages are getting very tattered.

    I also love that this recipe does not have corn syrup in it like a lot of other butter tart recipes do!

    • Karlynn says

      YES!!! NO corn syrup! Not that corn syrup doesn’t have its place in certain baking ( candies, etc) but it does not belong in butter tarts! Isn’t it the best book ever!??

  23. Pauline Burns says

    I love this recipe, it’s the one I grew up using. My mom had an old copy of the Five Roses cookbook and when I moved out, I bought a newer edition of it for myself. I have a bunch of other favourite recipes in that book that I keep going back to even though the pages are getting very tattered.
    I also love that this recipe does not have corn syrup in it like a lot of other butter tart recipes do!

    • Karlynn says

      YES!!! NO corn syrup! Not that corn syrup doesn’t have its place in certain baking ( candies, etc) but it does not belong in butter tarts! Isn’t it the best book ever!??

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