Monday, February 9, 2009

Vegan Butter Tarts

If you aren't Canadian then you may not understand the need to find a suitable vegan substitute for butter tarts. They are one of Vegan Mom and mine favourite treats, and we would make them on special occasions. The non-vegan version has butter in it, of course, and relies on eggs to set the filling. So, how to make a passable vegan version? The answer is some agar, which firms up the filling but lets it stay a bit runny. I did not bake these (I will experiment with that next time), so the top is slightly different, but they are still pretty great.

Tart Shells
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
- 5-6 tbsp ice cold water

1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar together. Add margarine in small chunks and mix in with your fingers, until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Mix water in with a fork, enough to make a soft but not wet dough. Knead into a ball.
2. Divide ball in two, then flatten into rectangles, about 1/2" thick. Wrap in a plastic bag and put in the fridge for 30 mins.
3. Roll out dough to desired thickness on a floured surface (I like a thicker shell for a butter tart). Cut into 4.5 inch circles and press into muffin tin cups. You can make at least 12 thicker tart shells and about 18 thinner ones. Cover with plastic bag and place back in fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Prick bottoms and sides of the shells with a fork and bake for 25-30 mins, depending on how thick the shell is. They should be lightly golden brown.

Makes 12 tarts
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp agar flakes
- 1/2 cup soy creamer (+ 2 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat margarine and sugar over medium heat. Bring to bubbling, stirring regularly. Reduce heat to med-lo to keep it from burning.
2. While that is going on, heat agar and creamer over medium heat in a separate pan. Whisk regularly until agar is dissolved. Add to sugar mixture and mix well.
3. Dissolve arrowroot in 2 tbsp of creamer. Add to sugar mixture and stir well. Make sure the sugar has all dissolved. If it hasn't, increase the heat a bit and stir until dissolved.
4. Mix in vanilla, raisins, and walnuts.
5. Fill tart shells 3/4 full. Let set, then eat.


DJ Karma said...

Never had them before, but they look delicious... been thinking about playing around with agar!

Amanda Nicole said...

Thank you for posting this recipe! I'm a fellow Canadian, and I've been craving these things since Christmas.

kimberly said...

These look so yummy! Now I just need to add agar flakes to the grocery list and then I'll be in tart heaven.

Chris said...

No bake butter tarts? Count me in! I like the use of agar agar; it's pretty common in SE Asian cooking so I can't complain. Any suggestions for arrowroot substitutes though? I somehow haven't ever encountered it in my recipe browsing.

The Geographical Vegan Says... said...

Oh WOW!!

I was just dreaming of veganized butter tarts the other day, then I thought "no, maybe it can't be done".....

You're my hero!!

(This recipe looks great but I have one major concern..
- no maple syrup??? The best butter tarts have maple syrup 'dollupped' into the filling to give it that extra *wow* sweet factor.)

I'll let you know how it turns out...

Eating Consciously said...

Never hear of butter tarts, but the concept sounds and looks delicious.

Vegan Dad said...

Cornstarch seems the obvious substitution, but I think you could probably do without it all together. I think the agar will hold it together--I just have not tested that theory yet.

Vegan Dad said...

Geographical Vegan,
That sounds intense. These are already pretty sweet and fudgy--the maple syrup might put you in a sugar-induced coma. Of course, worse things have happened.

veganmum said...

Oh, yum. Bryanna has a great butter tart recipe (I can't remember if it's on her blog or not), but I will definitely be trying these, too. I love that they aren't baked - if only because the baked ones always make a mess of my oven.

(I'd love to see more traditional Canadian recipes on the blog!)

Can't wait to try this.

The Voracious Vegan said...

Oh my vegan goodness! Those look AMAZING! Thank you so much for the recipe.

Laci said...

Wow! so decadent, a omni would never guess! :D

Barbara said...

These sound magical, I cannot wait to make them!

Anonymous said...

these look really good. i bet they'd be good filled with a fruit filling too.

Bullie named Moses said...

look super yummy!

kmouse said...

Oh my god, they look like mini sugar pies! My husband who is quebecois would love those.

Claire said...

Hey! DietDesserts and Dogs has a nice looking butter tart recipe too. I love importing all these Canadian recipes!

Anonymous said...

I AM CANADIAN, but living in Spain and everyone always asks me about typical Canadian dishes... I belong to this vegan group and we have potlucks all the time. This is just perfect. I'm normally not the type to make desserts, but I think I'll make an exception...

Anonymous said...

Just wondering I have been wanting butter tarts so badly I have all the ingredients but can not find the soy creamer, Any suggestions?

Lynne said...

Yummy! Thanks for this. I laughed at the Canadian reference. My grandmother used to make buttertarts every christmas. One of those things I missed when I turned Vegan. Can't wait to try this recipe.

AlexisonRios said...

Thanks for the great recipe. I made mine with the following changes:

- 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour
- Closer to 12 teaspoons of cold water, which I'm guessing is from using a different type of flour

The crust turned out great and could be a great pie crust too.

- Almond milk instead of soy creamer, and closer to 1+ cup
- No arrowroot (didn't have any), no vanilla (forgot), no raisins (don't like them)

The filling turned out really good as well, though I made way too much. My crust was quite thick and ideally I should have made more shells.

I let the agar set in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, and it turned out good. Still soft and gel like, but not running out of the shell.

Again, thank you for the recipe.

Moreen Murray said...

Vegan Dad - just made these this morning for my dad who is in Sunnybrook Veterans Wing - of course I had to taste test - they are awesome! Thanks!