Waterloo County Butter Tarts

Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
18 tarts

This butter tart recipe is so good, savvy wedding guests would steal them off the dessert table before dinner to make sure they got one!  
Courtesy of Peggy Nagle, daughter-in-law of Waterloo County’s Queen of Tarts, Teresa Weadick




5 ½
cups (1.375 L) all-purpose flour
tsp (10 mL) salt
lb(s) (450 g) chilled lard, cut in chunks
tbsp (15 mL) vinegar

Butter Tart Filling

cup (125 mL) raisins, scalded and plumped
cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
tbsp (30 mL) corn syrup
tbsp (30 mL) butter or margarine
tsp (5 mL) vanilla


Step 1

In large bowl, combine flour and salt.

Step 2

With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger pea-size pieces. (I used to do it that way, but now I blend this mixture in my food processor. Much faster and less messy.)

Step 3

In glass measure, using fork, beat egg with vinegar. Add enough very cold water to make 1 cup (250 mL). Drizzle into flour mixture a bit at a time, mixing with fork until dough looks evenly moistened and holds together when gently pressed between fingers. (You might not need all of the liquid.)

Step 4

Divide dough equally into 6 balls. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours. Prepared dough can be stored for 2 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.

Step 5

Roll dough on lightly floured surface. Using jar lid or cookie cutter or large glass, cut circles of the right size for your tart tins. If the dough cracks while rolling, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes or until pliable enough to roll without breaking. The secret to flaky pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible. The more you handle it, the tougher it gets. (Tip: Butter tarts are best fresh, even better warm, but they’re messy to make at the last minute. I like to make the dough and fill the tart tins the night before, then just add the raisins and the filling and bake right before serving.)

Step 6

Place raisins in bottom of pastry-filled tart tins.

Step 7

In a bowl, beat together egg, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Spoon about 1 tbsp (15 mL) filling over raisins into each well of tart tins. (You should have enough filling for 18 tarts.)

Step 8

Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 5 minutes, then turn down to 350°F (180°C) for 15 more minutes.

Step 9

Remove from oven; let cool. They generally slide out of the tart tins fairly well. However, the rule is that any broken ones cannot be served at a meal or to company. These culls must be given to onlookers in the kitchen who are hinting for a tasty treat (or at least that’s what Rob tells me!).

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