We made this Canadian classic vegan! These super simple Vegan Pecan Butter Tarts are syrup-y, sweet, and packed with pecans, all wrapped in a flaky vegan pie crust.
We wouldn’t be Canadians if we didn’t have a butter tart recipe. We’ve been meaning to veganize this Canadian classic for a years and it’s finally here. To create a crispy bite, we made a flaky pie crust using all vegan butter and filled it with a pecan maple syrup filling.
What are butter tarts?
A butter tart is a classic Canadian pastry that is made with a pie dough and a sweet filling of butter, sugar, maple syrup, and egg. With some simple swaps we made these sweet treats vegan!
Butter Tarts have been around since the early 1900s and have remained a key part of Canadian cuisine ever since. Every Canadian can remember getting butter tarts from their local bakery or during a beach day.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Quick and easy recipe perfect for weekdays.
- Super flaky crust made with vegan butter.
- Syrup-y sweet filling made with real Canadian maple syrup!
- Contains only 11 simple ingredients!
Top tips for making Vegan Pecan Butter Tarts:
- Keep it cold. The key to a perfectly flaky pie crust is cold ingredients. Cold butter, cold flour, cold tools – yes cold everything. This is especially important for those that have trouble making pastry, it can help keep the warmth from your hands from melting the butter and ruining a flaky pie crust. Be sure to chill your dough every step of the way for the perfect results. Even if we don’t say so in the recipe, if your dough is starting to feel too warm, it’s time to chill it.
- Handle the dough with care. To get those signature flaky layers in the pastry it’s important that you don’t prematurely melt the butter. Warm butter will be absorbed by the flour instead of coating it, resulting in a tougher, less flaky crust.
- Let the dough rest. While you prep the filling let the dough chill in the fridge or freezer. Letting the dough chill will help produce flaky layers.
- Don’t burn the filling. Because the filling has a lot of sugar content it can be easy to burn. Keep it on a gentle heat and cook it until it just comes to a boil.
- Don’t overfill the pastry. To ensure the filling doesn’t bubble over while baking only fill it 3/4 of the way up.
- Place a baking sheet on the lower rack. Just in case the filling boils over a bit in the oven save yourself from cleaning up a sticky mess at the bottom of your oven.
Typically in the ingredient notes we talk the ingredients you can substitute, but for this recipe we’re actually going to talk about the importance of certain ingredients in this recipe.
- Vegan Butter – This is a key ingredient in both the dough and the filling. Don’t skip or substitute this recipe.
- Ice Water – To keep the butter as cold as possible we use ice cold water to create the dough.
- Flax Egg – For the perfect consistency we use a flax egg instead of a non-vegan egg.
- Dark Maple Syrup – For a deep robust flavour we reccommend going with real maple syrup from Canada that is dark in colour. If you can’t find dark maple syrup, you can use any grade you’re able to find.
- Pecan Pieces – You can leave these out or use a different add in if you want.
Other vegan dessert recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Apple Fritters with Maple Glaze
- Pumpkin Pecan Scones
- Cranberry Hand Pies
- Vegan Raspberry Brownies
How to make Vegan Pecan Butter Tarts
Vegan Pecan Butter Tarts
- 300 g (2½ cups) all purpose flour
- 226 g (1 cup) vegan butter, cubed
- 120 mL (½ cup) ice water
- pinch salt
- 113 g (1 cup) vegan butter
- 200 g (1 cup) brown sugar
- 1 large flax egg, (2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp warm water)
- 120 mL (½ cup) dark maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup pecan pieces
Make Tart Dough:
- Before you start: Put your butter in the fridge or freezer to ensure it’s as cold as possible. Do this with your ice water as well.
- Add flour and salt to a bowl – mix. Add cubes of very cold butter and using your hands toss until all the butter cubes are evenly coated in flour. Squish each cube of butter between two fingers and toss in flour again. Gently rub the butter into the flour until the butter is about the size of walnut halves or leave as is for an extra flaky pie crust.
- Create a well in the middle of the flour and pour in about half the cold water and toss until all the water is absorbed into the flour. One tbsp at a time, add more cold water to the bowl and mix until the dough comes together – you want to handle it as little as possible. You may need to add more or less water than stated as different flours hydrate at different percentages.
- Divide the dough into quarters, form into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 30 minutes. If making this recipe across a couple days this is a good place to stop.
- Flour the work surface and roll chilled dough out to 1/8 “- 1/4″ thickness depending on how thin you want the shell. Using a 4.5” round cookie cutter, cut each rolled out dough disc into 3-4 circles.
- Grease a muffin tin and gently press the circles into each muffin cup and crinkle the edges, it should be sticking out of the muffin cup. Repeat for remaining dough and chill the muffin tin while you prepare the filling.
- Before you start: Make the flax egg by combining 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp warm water and set aside to thicken.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Add vegan butter and brown sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Whisk flax eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in the butter mixture slowly while whisking constantly to incorporate.
Make Pecan Butter Tarts:
- Sprinkle pecan pieces into the bottom of each tart and pour in the filling until 3/4 full.
- Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the filling in bubbling and he crust is golden.
- Cool the tarts for 5 minutes, then give them a gentle twist in the pan to ensure they aren’t stuck anywhere. Allow to cool completely in the pan and enjoy.