Gluten Free Butter Tarts have a tender, flaky golden crust containing delicious sweet maple filling. You can add nuts, raisins, coconut, or leave them plain according to your personal preference. These can also be made dairy free without sacrificing any deliciousness!
Butter tarts are a favourite traditional treat in Canada. They're a little like a small pecan pie with a somewhat runny filling. Canadians are very opinionated about whether they should contain raisins or nuts. Some people prefer the tarts to be runny while others like them to be less messy.
For another great Canadian dessert, try Date Squares with Raisins.
Gluten Free Butter Tarts
This is the recipe for butter tarts just the way we like them. Since they're made with my Gluten Free Pie Crust that people don't know is gluten free unless I tell them, they are a regular "go-to" whenever I need to bring food to someone's house or we're having company.
I like butter tarts with nuts, and my husband likes them with raisins, so I usually make one half of them with raisins and the other half with pecans. Other add-in options would be currants, coconut, or nothing at all. This recipe is easy to customize because you simply drop the extras into the unbaked tart shells before spooning in the filling.
Dairy Free Butter Tarts
If you need dairy free butter tarts, simply substitute coconut oil for the butter. In that case, they're not really butter tarts, I suppose, but they're delectable, just the same!
For maximum efficiency, you can prepare the ball of dough for the crust and cook your tart filling the day before baking. Then, while your oven is preheating, roll out and cut your crusts, fit them into muffin tins, and spoon the filling into them.
If you wish, you can make your tart shells and filling the day before you bake them, but store them separately. The shells keep well in the muffin tins, covered in plastic wrap, in the fridge for a day. The filling can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. You'll just need to stir it before spooning it into the prepared shells.
One advantage to preparing the crusts and filling ahead of time is that you'll be putting chilled filling into cold shells. This results in flakier crusts than you'd get if you used warm filling. Read more about achieving flaky crust in this post about Gluten Free Pie Crust.
Note about Crust Quantity
The Gluten Free Pie Crust recipe will make much more than you need for these two dozen tarts. The remainder will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator or a few weeks in the freezer. It's great to be able to pull out later when you'd like to whip up a pie!
Removing the Tarts
After baking your tarts, try to avoid the temptation to take them out of the pans right away. They might fall apart if you try to remove them while they're still warm. If you want to scoop one out with a spoon and eat it, though, I won't judge! The secret to removing your tarts whole without having them falling apart is to let them cool for an hour before you take them out of the pans.
Storing Butter Tarts
Refrigerate any uneaten butter tarts for a few days. They also freeze well.
Gluten Free Butter Tarts with Dairy Free Option
Gluten Free Crust
- 1 large egg separated
- juice of half a lemon
- cold water
- 2 cups tapioca flour
- 1 cup chickpea, garganzo bean flour, OR organic soy flour
- 1 cup white rice flour plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1 pound 454 g pure lard
Butter Tart Filling
- ½ cup butter at room temperature (Use coconut oil for dairy free version.)
- 1 cup organic raw sugar
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 cup raisins pecans, walnuts, shredded coconut OR currants, or any combination to equal 1 cup
Gluten Free Crust
- Separate the egg, putting the white into a mixing bowl and the yolk into a 1-cup measuring cup. To the yolk, add the juice of half a lemon and enough cold water to bring it up the one cup mark. Chill this in the refrigerator while combining the flours. Leave the egg white at room temperature.
- Whisk together the flours and salt.
- Cut lard into the flour mixture until it is in lumps about the size of peas.
- Whisk the egg white until it is foamy.
- Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and stir about 7 or 8 times.
- Pour the foamy egg white over all and stir a few more time until the dry part is just barely all incorporated.
- Chill this dough in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight. You could prepare the butter tart filling during this time.
- On a well-floured surface (Use any of the flours used in the recipe), roll out the dough to desired thickness. Cut into 24 rounds with a cutter or sharp-edged bowl. 4 ¼-inches in diameter works well for the cups of my 12-muffin pans.
- Whisk together the butter, sugar, syrup, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is just on the verge of a boil. Pull it off the heat before it starts to boil. For best results with the flakiest tart crust, allow the filling to cool at least to room temperature before putting it into the prepared shells.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Divide the raisins, currants, coconut, and/or nuts evenly among the pastry tart shells. You might use ½ cup raisins in one pan and ½ cup nuts in the other.
- Then spoon about a tablespoon of filling into each prepared tart shell. You'll divide up what you have, but start with small amounts, so you don't run out.
- Bake 15 - 20* minutes until crusts turns brown.
- Remove from oven, and allow to cool 1 hour before removing from tins.
- Watch your tarts closely the first time you bake them. They are baking at a high temperature. I've tested this recipe with an oven thermometer. However, if your oven temperature tends to be high, 15 minutes may be too long!
- On the other hand, as I've made these tarts many times over the years, we find that we prefer them overdone rather than underdone. The sugars caramelize nicely, the crust crisps up, and they are generally easier to remove from the pan.