Sunday, August 19, 2012

Butter Tart Squares

This recipe has all the hallmarks of a winner.  Grandma’s desserts are where she seems to shine and her cookies, bars and squares seem especially good.  Now consider that they are also based on butter tarts – the quintessential Canadian dessert… and well… I’m hoping for a winner.

This recipe is from one of the new handwritten cookbooks I recently received from my mom and dad. 
This book is nothing but bars and squares and like the last one is filled with both written recipes and clippings from papers and magazines.

I’ve chosen to make one of the recipes on a little handwritten square of paper tucked in the front of the book.

I apologize that these pictures are fuzzy.  I’m taking these pics on my iphone (hoping for a good real camera soon but that isn’t in the cards for now). 

The recipe is a very basic crust and then the filling is just mixed together and poured in.  It seems pretty straightforward.

Yes, very straightforward.  Here are my ingredients and… wait… dammit!  How do I not have oatmeal?  I thought I had about three bags of oatmeal!  Really?  None?  Not in any cupboards?


I guess for me oatmeal is the opposite of pickles.  I thought I had a lot of oatmeal when I was shopping earlier so I didn’t buy any.  Whenever I’m at the store and see pickles I think I need them and I have about four jars in my fridge.

But hey… look at all this Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for sale!  I should stock up for the casseroles!

Back at home.  With ALL the ingredients.  I’ve never been a big fan of butter tarts because I don’t like raisins cooked into baked goods.  So for my buttertart squares I’m using only chopped walnuts.

The crust is just ½ cup butter (I subbed butter for the margarine in the recipe) mixed with a cup of flour and two tbsp. of brown sugar.  The crust isn’t as sweet as I expected it would be.

I pressed it into my well greased pan and baked it for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

It came out just a little darker.

In the meantime I had mixed together the eggs, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, oatmeal and chopped walnuts.  Look at how ooey and good that looks.

It just pours into the pan.  Then it is popped in the oven for 20 more minutes. 

While that cooks let me give you a little reason why butter tarts make Canadians so happy.  This is from the Wikipedia entry for butter tarts: “A butter tart is a type of small pastry tart highly regarded in Canadian cuisine and considered one of Canada's quintessential desserts. The tart consists of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filled into a flaky pastry and baked until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top” and, “butter tarts were common in pioneer Canadian cooking, and they remain a characteristic pastry of Canada, considered one of only a few recipes of genuinely Canadian origin.”

So hum O Canada to yourself while eating butter tarts. 

When it comes out it is so tempting to try to cut it right away but it really does need to cool.  The filling is pretty soft when cooled so it is really runny when warm.

Here they are when cut into squares.

Take a clooooose look.  My god.  These are extremely addictive!  They are very sweet and rich but sooooo good.  I am now a butter tart convert thanks to Grandma G.  I am a convert for these squares. They are so easy and so good!  I highly recommend making a batch and feeling like a proud Canadian.


  1. Testing comments - if you don't have a google account logged in just choose 'anonymous' from the drop down box below or chose 'name/url' and type in your name.

  2. This post was really cute! I liked the commentary ;-)

    -Eliz R

  3. I had no idea they were so canadian!