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Mmm... "Healthier" Butter Tarts - GF, DF, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

#thewellnessequation #healthierbaking #buttertarts #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree #maplesyrup #healthierbuttertarts #desserts #heathierdesserts #alliston #tottenham #calmhealingspace #nutrition #nutritionist

One of the things I missed the most when I started to eat gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free was BUTTER TARTS!

Honestly, as silly as it sounds butter tarts were a big part of my childhood.

I remember going to different bakeries and driving around to different places with my family to find the perfect butter tarts.

The best one by far that I found was downtown Bracebridge at a little bakery called Marty’s. They had the biggest / gooiest butter tarts and when you bit into them, they just dripped with sugary goodness.

Unfortunately Marty's no longer exists in a physical store. BUT!!! They do still sell their cookbook online, so if you want to try them you have to make them and buy the cookbook Marty's World Famous Cookbook. They are not healthy at all but are delicious and worth the cheat on your waistline.

So now the issue, for the most part my kids and I are Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar free. Try and find a butter tart that meets those requirements at a store. Let me tell you it is tough (found one at a farmers market once but it wasn't that good). You might find Gluten free, but it has egg and butter, or dairy free but made wheat and most are made with corn syrup.

Due to the limited places to get a "healthier" dessert I tend to make all the desserts we consume. When I bake, I try and minimize the sweetener I use plus I use Honey, Maple Syrup, Dates, Banana and Coconut Sugar to sweeten the baked goods instead of the refined sugar.

Although the above listed sweeteners are still sugar and aren’t great for you in large quantities but they have some benefits as well.

As a nutritionist I try and eat as healthy as I can, but you need to treat yourself once and a while so I adapt recipes and create my own recipes so I can feel good about whate I am eating and giving to my family.

Traditional butter tarts usually contain white flour, brown sugar, shortening/lard, corn syrup, butter, egg, vanilla etc. So, I wanted to try and make a “healthier” butter tart recipe. The following recipe contains maple sugar, coconut sugar, brown rice flour and garbanzo and fava flour. Which would you rather put into your body?

WARNING - There seems to be one huge issue to them. I CAN’T STOP EATING THEM. So, proceed with caution when making these. FYI – they taste good frozen as well, so freezing them won’t stop you from eating them….

Here is my recipe (I’ve also made a grain free crust before, but it isn’t school friendly as they are made up mostly of Almond Flour). I have put links below of the products I love and use often. I love to bake with Bob Red Mills as it is a nut free facility and a few of our friends have an allergy to peanuts so I usually have it on hand.

Butter Tart Pastry

Makes Approx. 26 Tarts

2 1/8 cups Brown Rice Flour (Add 2 cups first, and use the 1/8 of a cup for dusting the paper cups and adding to the dough to work with it better)

2 cups Bob Red Mills Garbanzo and Fava Flour

2/3 Arrowroot Starch

2 TBSP Coconut Sugar

2 1/3 tsp. Xanthan Gum (This is used as a binder)

¾ tsp. Himalayan Salt

1 cup Vegan Margarine

1 cup Vegan Shortening

¾-1 cup Water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a mixer, combine all the above ingredients except the water. Mix until combined. Once everything is combined slowly add the water until a dough like consistency forms. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will become too sticky. If this happens put a bit more brown rice flour in to compensate. Sticky dough is no fun to work with.

Put in the fridge and chill for 2 hours. I placed mine in a Ziploc bag in the fridge, you can also leave it in the bowl covered. Make sure it is covered, or in a sealed container so the outer layer doesn't dry out.

After two hours take the dough from the fridge and separate it into 26 equal sized balls. It will make approximately 26 butter tarts give or take depending on the thickness of crust you prefer. I personally made 24 regular sized tarts and about 8 mini tarts with this dough.

Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, and sprinkle with brown rice flour for easy release. Alternatively, you could also grease the pan. I use Avocado Spray for my baking as it is good at high temperatures. Once greased sprinkle the muffin cups with brown rice flour for easy release.

Even though it doesn't make the butter tarts as "pretty" I find that the paper works better. Gluten free pastry doesn’t always hold together and can be difficult to remove from muffin tins in one piece (especially if the filling boils over in the oven). I always sprinkle the cups with the extra Brown Rice Flour to help get them out of the paper cups perfectly.

Flatten each ball of dough and place it in the prepared muffin tin. Alternatively, you can omit making the balls and just roll the dough out and use a 3- or 4-inch circle cookie cutter but I like doing it by hand as your tarts are less uniform and look more homemade.

Place dough/muffin tin in the fridge until the filling is done.

Butter Tart Filling:

Makes enough filling for 24-26 tarts.

1 ¼ Cup Organic Canned Coconut Milk (I used mainly the cream with a bit of the coconut water – might need two cans depending on the amount of cream inside. (room temperature)

6 TBSP Arrowroot Starch

¾ cup Vegan Margarine (softened)

1 ¼ cup Maple Syrup

1 ½ cups Coconut Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Filling – You can keep them plain, or add raisins, pecans, chocolate whatever your heart desires. I kept them simple as I didn’t have raisins on hand when I made them, and my daughter didn’t want me to add pecans then she couldn’t take them to school.


In a medium saucepan, add all the above ingredients. After all of the ingredients are in the pan turn it on to medium heat.

Continually whisk the mixture/filling until it thickens. It is important not to leave the stove at this time it is easy to burn the bottom layer of filling so make sure you are constantly mixing the filling until it thickens.

When the filling is thickened (generally around 10 minutes) pour it in the pre-made pastry (see above). Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 30-60 minutes to cool before eating. And if you are anything like me you can also remove a few (careful not to burn yourself) and place them in the fridge to enjoy sooner.

Let us know what you think of the recipe!

We would love to hear from you!

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