If countries had national desserts, ours would have to be the butter tart. The rich, sweet filling – usually made with a combination of butter, sugar, syrup and egg – in miniature pastry shells is a trademark of Canadian cuisine, inspiring the creation of everything from butter tart stud earrings to a new Forty Creek Cream Liqueur.
Canadian pastry chefs can get pretty opinionated about what makes a proper butter tart – but we believe that the best desserts are inclusive. From classic to vegan to keto, here are different butter tart recipes from around Canada.
British Columbia’s Bella Bucchiotti uses raisins in this recipe – a controversial butter tart ingredient in the world of Canadian baking. You can swap them out for another kind of dried fruit, she says, or use another nut in lieu of pecans.
That’s right – Melanie McDonald has found a way to make perfectly-gooey butter tarts without using real butter or eggs. The secret is using full-fat coconut milk, along with arrowroot powder and vegan butter – top with plant-based whipped cream or ice cream for maximum indulgence.
Jo-Anna Rooney puts a Western stamp on her butter tarts by using Saskatoon berries, which are native across parts across the Canadian prairies, including in her home Alberta. If they’re in season, you can use fresh berries, but the recipe is designed to work perfectly with frozen fruit too.
No one would think that adding chocolate to butter tarts is a bad idea, but according to Kevin Lynch, it’s even better than you’d expect. “Best enjoyed warm from the oven while the chocolate is nice and melty and good,” he notes.
Carolyn Ketchum‘s love of this dessert can be partially attributed to her father. “I have fond memories of him sitting at a cottage in Muskoka, devouring butter tarts,” she writes. This keto version uses almond flour for a low-carb, grain-free treat.