If you’re not Canadian, you might not know what a butter tart is – it’s a bit like a mini pecan pie but with raisins instead of pecans.
We couldn’t find Canadian butter tarts when we lived in California, so we started making a vegan version ourselves – for a bit of a taste of home. I’ve also included a gluten-free pastry option that is just as delicious.
I made these as part of the pastry week showstopper for season 1 of the Great British Bakeoff vegan challenge. The task was to make 6 kinds of pastry – 3 kinds of sweet tarts and 3 kinds of savoury canapes.
The sweet tarts were these butter tarts, custard tarts with sliced plums and a peach glaze, and chocolate cream pie tarts. The canapes were stuffed mushrooms in rough puff pastry, miso roasted pepper hummus twirls, and lentil sausage rolls.
So much fun, and delicious to boot!
Great British Bakeoff Vegan: Season 1, Episode 5, Showstopper
Tart base (gluten-free)
- 1 cup chickpea flour (gram or besan)
- 1 cup almond flour (finely ground)
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup cold vegan butter or margarine
- 4-5 Tbsp cold soy milk
Tart base (with gluten)
- ½ cup vegan butter, chilled
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ice cold water
- ¾ cup raisins
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 4 Tbsp vegan butter or margarine
- 2 Tbsp soy milk
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp vanilla
Make the filling: Soak the raisins in boiling water for 20 minutes to plump them up, then drain the water.
In a small bowl, cream the coconut sugar and vegan butter together until well combined, then mix in the soy milk, maple syrup, cornstarch, and vanilla. Stir in the plumped-up raisins and mix well.
Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the cold vegan butter with a knife until it’s pretty finely chopped into crumbs (try not to use your hands too much or it will over-warm the dough). Then stir in the cold ice water or soy milk with a fork until you get a nice ball of dough coming together.
Split the dough into 6 equal pieces (you can use a scale if you want to be precise, or eyeball it). Press into six 4″ tartlet tins, making sure the crust is not too thick on the bottom (or you can make 12 mini tarts in a muffin pan).
Poke gently across the bottom with a fork. Blind bake the pastry tarts at 325 for 15-20 minutes so you don’t get a soggy bottom.
Spoon the filling into the pastry cups, all the way up to the top but not spilling over.
Bake at 325F for about 15-20 minutes (check after 10 minutes if using a muffin pan). They should be bubbling and a deep brown color when they’re done, with a rich golden crust.
Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tartlet tins and serve your Canadian butter tarts warm. They also freeze well for reheating at another tea time.
For today’s inspiration, here is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail.
If you can’t be a sun, be a star.
For it isn’t by size that you win or fail.
Be the best of whatever you are.”