Designer Kelly Morisseau’s Yummy & Nutty Holiday Butter Tarts Recipe

Carmen NatschkeDesign the Holidays

Kelly M Contemporary

Kelly M Contemporary Contemporary kitchen design by Kelly Morrisseau at Cupertino Kitchen Design.


Kelly Morisseau, kitchen and bath designer, and editor of the witty and informative Kitchen Sync blog, shares her favorite holiday pastry recipe for making what is sure to be a decadent, buttery and delicious holiday treat – makes us wish every day was a holiday.

Butter Tarts Recipe

(Requires tart shell pan or muffin tin. If you don’t have one, you can buy aluminum tart shells, if available in your area, which would be placed on a cookie sheet.)

Pie Crust Ingredients

You can either use this recipe or any of your favorite pie shell recipes.You can also buy ready-made tart shells, if available in your area, or buy ready-made pie shells and cut to fit. Homemade is really the best, though:

  • 2½ cups (625 ml) sifted cake-and-pastry flour (Canadians, use regular flour – gluten content is different than US)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chilled unsalted butter (alternative is Crisco lard)
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) ice water

Filling Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup nuts (walnuts or pecans, chopped into small pieces)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Making pastry shells: Make pie dough in a bowl by sifting together flour, sugar and salt. With a fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Slowly add ice water in a trickle, and mix until the dough can be gathered up into a ball. (You’re really mixing until the dough follows the fork around the bowl.) Divide in half. Take one half and roll out onto a lightly floured surface using a floured rolling pin. Roll out and cut circles approximately 4″ (I use a wide-mouth glass but if you have a big cookie cutter, it’s a bonus); fit dough circles into tart shell or muffin tin (ungreased) and set aside.
  3. Making filling:Mix the first 4 filling ingredients in a medium sized bowl until creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Stir in raisins and nuts last, or drop 6-8 each  (or more) into each tart shell.
  4. Fill shells: Fill the tart shells with the filling mixture to 2/3rd full only (you don’t want the filling to boil over unless you like scrubbing pas for a long time.)
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until filling is light-to-medium brown. How long you bake them depends on if you like them runny or slightly chewy – I like mine caramelized around the edges, so I bake them until they’re a rich golden brown. Don’t let them get too dark or grandma’s dentures will come out.


About Kelly Morisseau

Kelly M Kelly is a second-generation Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD) and a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in California.When she’s not working on her current day job at Main Street Kitchens, an award-winning design/build firm, she studies design, trends, and generational behavior for her blog, Kitchen Sync.

She understands and empathizes with homeowners and the challenges they face as they remodel their homes. As the sub-title of her blog states, “Some people jog to get their heart-rates up; I design kitchens.”