Gooey Butter Tarts

Monday 6 December 2010

One might be tempted to argue that these are not English . . . but they do very closely resemble little Scottish fruit tarts, which are almost exactly the same . . . except that the Scottish version contains some whiskey and lemon, instead of vanilla.

Although they are claimed to be a Canadian Treat . . . having looked at the Scottish recipe for a similar tart . . . one can clearly see that these delicious butter tarts have their roots firmly planted in Scottish soil . . .

Imagine a rich and flaky pastry . . . with a buttery filling, all gooey and rich and stogged full of lovely dried currants . . .

You could use sultanas or course, and or nuts . . . or even all three. You could even add chocolate chips . . .

We like them just plain . . . with currants.

They never last long in this house. It's impossible to eat just one.


*Gooey Butter Tarts*
Makes 12
Printable Recipe

Flaky pastry filled with a gooey sweet filling, all buttery and filled with currants. These are the best!

For the Pastry:
6.5 ounces of plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 tsp salt
2 ounces cold butter, cubed
2 ounces cold shortening, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vinegar
ice water

For the Filling:
3.75 ounces of Soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
4 fluid ounces golden syrup (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
2 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp each vanilla and white vinegar
pinch salt
3 ounces dried currants (1/2 cup packed)

Whisk the flour and salt for the pastry together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and shortening and cut it in with two round bladed knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk the egg yolk together with the vinegar and add enough ice water to equal 75 ml. (1/3 cup) Gradually sprinkle this over the flour mixture, stirring it in with a fork until the pastry holds together. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

For the filling, whisk the sugar, golden syrup, egg., butter, vanilla, salt and vinegar together vigorously. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 230*c/450*F/ gas mark 7.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Stamp out rounds with a 4 inch round pastry cutter. Fit into shallow bun tins. Drop a few currants into the bottom of each. Top off with some of the egg mixture, filling 3/4 full.

Bake in the bottom third of the heated oven for 12 minutes, or until filling is puffed and bubbly and the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let stand one minute, and then immediately loosen and remove to a wire rack to cool completely before eating.


  1. Yumm. Looks delicious. I'm surely going to try this out!

  2. These sound like they are very yummy! I could eat a bunch! ;D

  3. These look and sound fantastic ... although I've never heard of them before. Do you know if they maybe go by another name up here?

  4. Oh, gracious, these looks good, Marie! You always have a way of making me want to try each and every recipe you post--right now! You've got a gift, my friend (many gifts, actually!)

    I hope your Sunday was just beautiful and that the week is off to a great start! I'm just heading off to bed--late for me!

    So much love and warm thoughts being sent your way on this very chilly California night...


  5. Yum, those really do look nice and gooey and just the perfect size for a delicious bite.

  6. Marie, I just love the
    quote at the top of the
    page....You had me right
    there....Then, these lovely
    gooey yummies! Can't wait to
    try this recipe. Thank you!
    Happy Monday,
    xx Suzanne

  7. Looks so yummy - I have book marked the page!!

  8. This are certainly the real deal. Just like my Scottish friend Mary makes them. I make them every year for the holidays. I think I'll try your recipe this year. Thank you so much. We like ours plain also.

  9. Wow, these look gorgeous! I'll have to give them a try.

  10. Yum! My Grandma (miss her terribly, as she left a void about 7 years ago...) made these each year. I am the only one of the granddaughters who learned how to make them, with currants, and they turn out just like Grandma's, but without the companionship in the kitchen! I do feel her with me when I make them!

  11. Hi Marie

    I made a dozen butter tarts last night. I used maple syrup instead of Golden Syrup. Indeed they were delish. I doubled the filling, and used half today in a butter tart "pie", to which I added a half cup chopped chocolate chips by request. Decadent, even in small slices. I needed a couple cups Red Rose tea to wash mine down.


  12. I wouldn't be surprised if they were somewhat based on the Scottish tarts, they are a quintessential Ontario snack where many of the early settlers were from Scotland. I'm not sure Ontarian's are ready for currents in them, we are already arguing about whether or not raisins or nuts should be in them.

    1. I like raisins, currants or nuts in mine, but I think chocolate chips are a no no, lol


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