I know, it’s nearly impossible to believe, but the ooey, gooey treats pictured here are not simply dairy-free and egg-free. They’re also plant-based, void of refined sugars, made with whole grains, and are relatively wholesome overall. Not to mention, these healthy vegan butter tarts are actually made without butter of any kind! But don’t worry, they’re still perfectly indulgent.
These Vegan Butter Tarts are Butterless, Eggless & Deliciously Unrefined
This plant-based recipe is from my good friend Ricki Heller. She’s a vegan cookbook author who makes some of the most well-tested recipes you will find anywhere. We featured her vegan butter tarts several years ago, but are giving them a refresh as Ricki has some stunning new pictures and I wanted to let you know that you can now get a gluten-free version of this recipe in her healthy dessert book, Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free.
If you are okay with wheat, then this version is for you. It uses spelt flour, which is a flavorful whole grain. But in a pinch, you can substitute whole wheat flour. And instead of butter, Ricki uses luxurious coconut oil. She pairs it with just enough sea salt for buttery flavor, and tames any coconut flavor with fragrant vanilla. I think you’ll agree, these healthy vegan butter tarts are worthy of a special occasion.
Special Diet Notes: Healthy Vegan Butter Tarts
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 1⅔ cups (220 g) whole spelt flour (can sub whole wheat pastry flour)
- ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) fine sea salt
- ½ cup (120 mL) coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) light agave nectar
- ¼ cup (35 g) raisins
- ½ cup (120 mL) brown rice syrup
- ¼ cup (60 mL) light agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) non-GMO cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) brandy or rum (or use another 1 teaspoon/5 mL vanilla)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) finely ground chia seeds (flax is not suitable for this recipe)
- ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) baking powder
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF (165C). Lightly grease 8 individual tart pans (I used 3-inch or 7.5 cm pans with removable bottoms). If you’re using solid pans (without removable bottoms), it’s worth lining these with parchment paper rounds and then greasing the rounds, as the bottoms may stick to the pan otherwise.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour and salt.
- In a small bowl, melt the ½ cup (120 ml) coconut oil and then whisk in the agave nectar until combined. Pour the coconut-agave mixture over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until it comes together. Knead with your hands just until the wet ingredients are well incorporated. You should have a very soft dough that just holds its shape (if dough is really too soft, sprinkle more flour, about 1 tablespoon or 15 mL at a time, until you reach a just barely firm texture–this dough should be very soft!). Divide dough into 8 equal portions among the tart pans.
- Dust your hands with flour. Beginning with the sides of the tart pans, press the dough evenly to cover each pan; dust hands with flour periodically to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is just starting to puff up. Remove from oven and sprinkle about ½ tablespoon (7.5 mL) of the raisins in the bottom of each shell (4 to 6 raisins).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown rice syrup and agave nectar with the cornstarch until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the melted 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut oil, vanilla, brandy and chia seeds (be sure there are no little lumps of chia left in the mixture). Add the baking powder last and mix quickly just to blend.
- Divide the mixture equally among the tart pans so the pans are about ¾ full, or filling is almost even with the top of the crusts (you may have a bit of filling left over–it makes a nice topping over ice cream or pancakes).
- Bake 25 for 30 minutes in preheated oven, turning about halfway through to ensure even baking. The tarts are ready when the filling appears foamy on top and bubbles a little onto the sides of crust in the pans. It will begin to brown on top but will still appear quite liquid when you jiggle the pans; this is as it should be. Remove the tarts carefully from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm.
- These can be eaten cold or at room temperature; for the latter, chill first and then return to room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Makes 8 butter tarts