These decadent Gluten Free Maple Butter Tarts, with their crisp, buttery shell and gooey centers, are a true Canadian treasure.
Butter Tarts have become an edible symbol of Canada. There are a few foods we claim as our own, and Naniamo Bars and Butter Tarts are among the nation’s favourites.
I think these gluten free Maple Butter Tarts are even more Canadian, since they use maple syrup in the filling instead of corn syrup. All you need is a Double Double from Tim’s, your toque, and you’ll be set for life in the Great White North.
Translation for the non-Canadian readers:
“Double Double from Tim’s” – a double double is a coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars from the Tim Horton’s franchise. Whenever someone reference’s “Tim’s”, we don’t need to ask which Tim, because we know that it refers to the coffee shops found across Canada.
“Toque” – it’s the knitted cap you wear to keep your ears from freezing for 5 months of the year.
“Great White North” – well, I’ll just let Bob & Doug Mackenzie explain that to you themselves.
There is a debate across the nation regarding what should be in Butter Tarts though. Some people say “no” to raisins while others will be in an uproar if they contain nuts. Our family, however, likes to have both raisins AND nuts. You can feel free to alter this recipe to suit your family’s likes though.
No hard feelings.
You can even go completely crazy and add shredded coconut or chocolate chips if you want. That’s the great thing about Canada – our Butter Tarts are as varied as we are.
Although these gluten free Maple Butter Tarts are the perfect addition to your Canada Day celebrations, they are also the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie platters. No matter what time of year you make these, I can guarantee that they won’t last long. At least they never do at my house.
Feel free to make these tarts ahead of time too, since they freeze beautifully. You can stack them in an air-tight container with waxed paper or parchment paper between the layers, and just take out the tarts that you need. Let them defrost on the counter for about 30 minutes, and they will be as good as fresh.
Making Mini Gluten Free Maple Butter Tarts:
Instead of making full sized tarts, you can make mini tarts using a mini muffin pan and a tart tamper. These mini tarts are the perfect size to include in your holiday baking trays, or when you are serving a crowd.
- Roll about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball, and place the ball into the ungreased muffin pan.
- Dip the end of the wooden tart tamper in some rice flour to keep the dough from sticking to it. Press down with even pressure, pushing the dough to go up the sides of the muffin pan, forming a tart shell. Carefully remove the tamper, and make sure that the tart shell has no holes in the sides. If it does, just pat the dough with your finger to fill it in.
- Reduce the baking time by a few minutes (18-20 minutes should be perfect for these tarts).
- Don’t overfill the tarts – no more than 2/3 full or they will bubble over, and make it more difficult to remove from the pan.
If you love the flavour of these gluten free Maple Butter Tarts, check out this Gluten Free Maple Butter Tart Cheesecake recipe. It got me into the top 10 in a cheesecake contest a few years ago. And this gluten free Maple Butter Tart Bread Pudding is pretty amazing too.
The perfect gluten free Pie Crust:
For these tarts, and any other pies that I make, I use my friend Megan’s Best Gluten-Free Flaky Pie Crust Recipe. She spent years perfecting this recipe, and knows a whole lot more about pies than I do. Her recipe is vegan as written, but I use half butter and half shortening to give the crust a richer flavour. Besides that, it is perfect as written, and uses the same flours I use in my kitchen.
The only tip that I can add to Megan’s recipe is to freeze your butter for about 15 minutes, and then shred it into the flour mixture using a box grater. Works great, and distributes the butter evenly.
- 3/4 cup raisins, re-hydrated (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain well)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I use whatever I have on hand)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare the tart shell pastry by following the recipe and directions on Allergy Free Alaska. A double batch makes enough for 16-18 regular sized tarts.
Take about 1/4 cup of the dough, and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and roll the dough out into a circle slightly larger than you need. Using a round cutter that is about 4-inches wide (or a cup or bowl with that width) cut out a circle. Remove the excess dough from around the circle. Lift the plastic wrap, with the circle on it, flip it over over one of the openings in the muffin pan. Use the plastic wrap to push the dough into the muffin pan, and up the sides of the pan. Remove the plastic wrap, and repeat until you have made all the tart shells. Place the muffin pans in the fridge or freezer while you mix up the filling.
Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt.
Remove the tart shells from the freezer, and divide the raisins between the tarts.
Carefully spoon the maple syrup mixture over the raisins, being sure to not fill your tarts more than 2/3 full.
Sprinkle the tops with the chopped nuts
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is a light brown, and the filling is set.
Let the tarts cool in the pan for a minute before carefully using a sharp knife to help lift the baked tarts out of the pan. If the tarts stay in the pan for too long, any filling that bubbled over will "glue" the tart to the pan as it cools. Work carefully, the filling is hot. Place them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
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