Nana’s Butter Tarts

Nana's Butter Tarts

Christmas time means butter tarts and every Christmas since I can remember, my family has always looked forward to receiving butter tarts from my mother-in-law. We all agree that hers are the best in the world. Several years ago, I finally got up the nerve to ask her for the recipe, which she of course willingly passed on to me. I still have the sheet of looseleaf paper with her beautiful handwriting, folded and stuffed in my recipe cupboard and I haul it out each year to make my own. Over the years, I have adapted it a bit and I often cheat and use the frozen pre-formed sweet pastry shells. These freeze well, and taste almost as good frozen and eaten directly out of the deep freeze on the way out the back door.

the best butter tarts

I have copied the recipe as written in her words, with a few adaptations.

Makes 24 – 3 in. tarts


  • 1 cup organic sultana raisins
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. organic vanilla
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)


“Wash raisins with hot water a couple of times. After draining the last water, I squeeze extra water out with my hands and put raisins over measured sugar and softened butter. Then add eggs and vanilla. Stir, then put in pastry lined pans and bake in 350F. degree oven for 22 – 24 minutes.”

Sour Cream Puff Pastry

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb. butter (chilled)
  • 1 cup sour cream (250 ml)

“Place flour in large bowl. Cut butter in large chunks with a knife. With a pastry blender, cut chunks of butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add sour cream and stir with fork (or hands) until just blended. Shape into a ball, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. (I sometimes leave it overnight). This dough rolls easily and never seems to get tough no matter how many times it is rolled. This sour cream pie pastry makes a large amount of tarts so if I don’t want to use it all, I make pies with the rest. Just line pie plates and freeze uncooked. Great to use later.”  Thanks, Mom!

Here is an alternative pastry recipe.. This is a reliable recipe that is true to its name.

Never Fail Pastry


    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup butter, chilled
    • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
    • 1/3 cup milk


  1. Put flour and salt in food processor and pulse.
  2. Cube butter, then add to flour in processor bowl and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add vinegar to milk. Add all at once to flour mixture. Pulse until it just forms a ball.
  4. Remove and divide into two balls. Place on waxed paper or plastic wrap, flatten gently into a disc, top with another layer of wrap, fold over and refrigerate if not using right away.
  5. Roll out and cut to fit your tart tins. Press gently into tins, smoothing out any creases. Prick several times with the tines of a fork.

Like what you see here? Subscribe to my new blog, Flavour and Savour and never miss a recipe. “Like” my Facebook page here. Thanks!


About Flavour and Savour

clean-eating recipes, mostly gluten-free, always delicious!
This entry was posted in Christmas, desserts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.