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A Beatles Recipe: Admiral Halsey's Butter Pie

Updated on December 27, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty collects recipes from past generations among ethnic groups, the 13 Original Colonies, the American Civil War & the 19th century.

A butter pie from the UK.
A butter pie from the UK. | Source

The traditional Butter Pie was known as a dish loved by the workmen of the historic Lancashire Catholic community. It was eaten instead of meat on Meatless Fridays.

Admiral Halsey on All the Best

The Butter Wouldn't Melt

Quite a controversy has embroiled gastronomes everywhere on Hub Pages, especially fans of my Spy-vs-Spy type acquaintance, the great Hubber B.T. Evilpants, who is surely a cousin of some sort to the incredibly clever P.T. Barnum, the entire Kellogg dynasty from Michigan, and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

Poor Jackalope Evilpants has been avoiding and evading the evil Butter Tart Gang - whose mission it is to stuff butter tarts down his wee throat until he bursts - while I am still asking, "What is a butter tart?"

--A Canadian delicacy of some sort that must include a scrumptious pie crust and a dab of butter, at least.

Looking high and low worldwide and into the galaxy, where did I find some similar recipes, but among memories of my long-ago relatives that came over by sailing ship from London via Ireland and Scotland after the Revolutionary War.

These may not be butter tarts, but they are likely to be as close as I can get.

Please enjoy and let me know how they are.


Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

How to Make a Butter Pie

The English Butter Pie via Cambridge, Ohio

The Beatles' Admiral Halsey

Admiral Halsey notified me

He had to have a berth or he couldn't get to sea

I had another look and I had a cup of tea and butter pie

(The butter wouldn't melt so I put it in the pie)...

This is the English Butter Pie from the Beatles' song Admiral Halsey. Farm families used to make it often. This recipe does not call for nuts, but 1/2 cup chopped hazel nuts would be very good in this savory dish. English walnuts are another alternative.


  • 4 pounds potatoes
  • 4 large sweet onions (Spanish or Vidalia), sliced medium
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Cup butter (melted), plus additional butter or oil to sauté Onions
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1/3 Cup flour
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • Pie crust of your choice


  • Peel the potatoes or leave skins on if you wish (sometimes I peel them but leave a bit of skin on here and there for texture).
  • Slice potatoes very thin.
  • Parboil potato slices in salted water 2 to 3 minutes & drain.
  • Sauté onions and garlic together in butter or oil just until soft.
  • Layer potatoes and onion mixture in a 3-quart baking dish, sprinkling with salt and pepper over each layer and top.
  • Gradually stir milk, half the cream and the melted butter into flour to form a paste.
  • Pour milk mixture over potatoes.
  • Prepare pie crust and roll it to fit the top of baking dish. Put it on top and crimp edges.
  • Cut X air vent in the center of top crust.
  • Brush top with additional cream.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and crust is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven. Warm the rest of the cream, pour through the X, set aside 15 minutes and serve.

Additional pie recipes follow:

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Ohio Maple Sugar Pie with Walnuts

This was fast and easy on the farm!


  • 1 recipe for a single crust pie
  • 1 8-inch pie plate.
  • Light Brown Sugar or Maple Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup chopped English Walnuts, if desired
  • Cream
  • Butter


  • Place the crust into the pie dish neatly.
  • Smooth 1/2 inch of brown maple sugar into the crust, covering the bottom. PLace walnuts evenly around the filling
  • Moisten the sugar by dribbling 4 Tablespoons of heavy cream over the top evenly.
  • Slice 1/4 Cup butter into slices and place evenly around the pie filling.
  • Bake at 400 degees F 25 - 30 minutes or until done.

Lovely butter.
Lovely butter.

What Is a Butter Tart?

Ohio Farm Tarts

Theseinclude butter, but I know that can't be the same at Windsor, Ontario Butter Tarts.

Makes at least a dozen small tarts.


  • 2 Whole eggs
  • 1.5 Cups light brown or maple sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 Cup dried apples and apricots combination
  • 1/2 cup chopped English walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • A dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Recipe for 1 pie crust


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Beat the eggs until yellow and foamy.
  • Add the sugar, honey, and melted butter and beat well.
  • Add the fruit, nuts, vinegar, salt, and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Put cupcake cups (paper or foil) into muffin pans.
  • Put small circles of rolled pie dough into the cups.
  • Fill the crusts 2/3 full.
  • Bake until the pastry is light golden brown, 15 - 20 minutes. If you can smell them strongly, they are probably already burnt!
  • Cook less time if you want an oozier filling.


Fun! - Make your own butter.

Sailing on Lake Erie Towards Canada

...To Windsor to find the elusive Butter Tart of yore.
...To Windsor to find the elusive Butter Tart of yore. | Source

© 2008 Patty Inglish


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 months ago from North America

      @Kamaldeep Kaur - Thanks for your comment. These pies and tarts might not be available in your area, but they are certainly tasty!

    • getkamfortable profile image

      Kamaldeep Kaur 6 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I live in Canada, how have I not heard of this before!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 13 months ago from North America

      @Chef Gordo - Hurrah! This is one of my favorite recipes and I am ecstatic that you like it. The generations of my family used to make it on the farms of Eastern Ohio since before the American Revolution. I think they brought it over from England.

    • profile image

      Chef Gordo 13 months ago

      I made Admiral Halsey's Butter Pie tonight and it was absolutely fabulous! I didn't change a thing and this will now be a go to side dish for a fine grilled steak! Thank you!

    • Marian Swift profile image

      Marian Swift 9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Oooohhh, so that's what butter pie is! Must have. NOW. (The song's cool, too ...)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Yes, you are very kind to do so. I have thought of purchasing metric measuring utensils for several months now, so I will stop thinking about it and do so. It will be a treat. Measuring cups already have both and I have seen measuring spoonnd with both as well -- ling, with imerial on one side and metric on the other like chemists' measures. What fun!

      Thanks for posting the Butter Tart recipe.


    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty! I always include imperial measurement on my recipes. Just for you guys on the other side of the border. zs

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      (Pecan pie - pecans + raisins) = pie I would like better than sticky pecan pie.

      Thank you so much, BT Evilpants. Zsuzsy - I must get a set of metric cookware. Until then, I will enjoy the pictures. :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great recipes I'm sure Patty! But nothing will come near the authentic Canadian Butter tart. You will have to make my recipe or come over the border.

      fun hub regards Zsuzsy

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 9 years ago from Hell, MI

      Just make sure it's Vernor's ginger ale, please! By the way; in case you haven't figured it out, a butter tart is like a very small pecan pie, with no pecans. Its sweeter, and richer, and usually has a few raisins in it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Oh my, a visit from the star of the show! Espionage films are so enjoyable, you know. I shall make the Ohio Farm Tarts for friends for the 4th of July and we shall toast you with ginger ale. -- Those cookies under glass did look good.

      We are most pleased to add to your fame. In 20 years we can do This Is Your Life.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 9 years ago from Hell, MI

      Well hello, Patty! I must say, I'm honored to have been mentioned here! That song is one of my all time favorites. While all of those recipes look delicious, the only thing like a butter tart, is a butter tart. I'll try them though. I wonder where you found that video! I have lost a lot of weight since then. Although you may have noticed a certain affinity for baked goods, even then. If you can't get butter tarts, you could do worse than to swipe a few cookies. I just wasn't aware that the theft was being filmed. There goes my plausible deniability! Thanks again for making me famous (up until now, I was merely infamous)!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Now that I've fixed the spelling (heehee) - it's the alternate title of Uncle Albert.

      Next time I go to Canada I will definitely seek out the Butter Tart! I'll be on the lookout for BT.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      CJ - did we Canucks originally get butter tarts when we received our (now retired) Union Jack from the Monarchy?

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      These recipes sound delicious.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a fun hub, Patti! I have to ask tho....what's this "Almiral" that you speak of in the title? :)

      I didn't realize that someone had caught B.T. on film. Great footage! He's taller than I thought he'd be.

      Pity that you've never had a good Canadian butter tart. They are absolutely scrumpdillyisious! Sinfully sweet and calorie laden, too.