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.