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Oct 10, 2012 08:34 PM

Butter Tarts in BC!

Sadly the ongoing 'internationalisation' of Metro Vancouver means losing access to culinary icons like the aforementioned Butter Tart-a joyous confection found across Canada.

This past summer I found exactly one bakery offering Butter Tarts in Metro Vancouver- Steveston Bakery in you-know-where.

A decent representation of the genre-let's say workmanlike-filling unremarkable the pastry suffering from having been frozen (a common issue).

Having spent some time along the Sea to Sky of late put me in range of a number of BT variations.

First the wonderful Sunflower Cafe & Bakery on Cleveland St in downtown Squamish-a classic version with little filling here the crust is the star and shine it does.

Out on Highway 99 the coffee bar @ the Squamish Adventure Centre has some BT's of distinction the closest I found to what my Mom used to make-pastry again suffering from having been frozen but the filling is divine.

A dark horse in the Squamish area is Golden Crust- a bakery that seems to specialise in pies of various combinations & configurations-quite tasty pies too they're located in the industrial part of Squamish. Have yet to visit the store I've only ever encountered them @ the Farmer's Market am looking forward to seeing their complete lineup later this month or early November.

Anyway they have two BT variations one with nuts (pecans?) and another with raisins and the raisin stuffed one a Winner best I've had in ages-why did I only buy one?

Last-as you no doubt suspected-is the Grand Old Man of Sea to Sky bakeries Pure Bread in Whistler's Function Junction.Leaving aside all their other offerings the BT @ PB is like some versions all about the crust-a large tart with superb if non traditional filling almost a glaze on the pastry well worth searching out.

If anyone else has a Butter Tart encounter they'd like to share I'm sure we'd all love to hear about it.

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  1. Thanks for sharing the results of your research with us! I will now be watching out for butter tarts around metro Van, and you've given me a fabulous excuse to try them everywhere I go.

    2 Replies
    1. re: geekmom

      Butter Bakery up on MacKenzie St does a 'Butter Tart Bar' that epitomises the term abomination-crust a total failure, 'filling' just a mishmash/mess of vague flavours only a few of which are even tangentially related to Butter Tarts-FAIL.

      1. re: Sam Salmon

        Staid old BC Ferries has resurrected the Butter Tart and for $3.75 plus tax you'd think they'd get it right-sadly it was not to be.

        The crust is classic industrial stodge frozen to death then set out for the unsuspecting public to gag on.

        The filling is at least earnest, tastes somewhat like brown sugar and contains a decent amount of raisins.

        Eat only if in dire need of a sugar fix.

    2. Butter tarts are pretty common throughout Metro Van. I used to eat much more of 'em than I do now (mysterious shrinking pants syndrome). So I can't say off top of my head any particular life-changing BT experiences like Sam did. But a few better ones do come to mind, with or without raisins:

      - Max's Deli & Bakery (Oak St) and Stuart's;
      - Swiss Bakery (E. 3rd);
      - Whole Foods;
      - Mix The Bakery;
      - Valley Bakery (Hastings, Bby)

      2 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper

        I have never seen a BT @ WF-that doesn't mean they aren't there of course but being a Canadian confection I'd be surprised if a bland US mega-corporation would produce them.

        Also my most heartfelt apologies for any grammatical errors/tortured syntax in the original post the spirit was willing but the brain a tad afflicted.

        Also forgot the URL for Pure Bread

        1. re: Sam Salmon

          My recollection may have been Capers, not WF ! Sorry.

      2. Tartine on Beach Avenue downtown between Granville and Howe St. Service is generally really awful but the tarts are worth enduring the annoyance.

        1. SOBO here in Tofino has had them topped with or without pecans this week

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bob Mac

            Spotted a wonderful specimen in a new tart place om Broadway @ Granville today-sadly @ $6.50 apiece neither my budget or my waistline could afford one (!)

            Yes they were large examples but I'm not sure who their target market is with those offerings.


            1. re: Sam Salmon

              Interesting, all the tarts are 4.75 inches in diameter. That is huge!

              1. re: Anne M

                For $6.50 apiece I'd rather them be butter PIES :-)

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  FWIW the Tarts offerings are pretty darn tasty. They are really more like pies than tarts. I haven't tried the butter one yet but had both a savoury and a sweet (shared 'em) and found them not wanting.

                  On the subject at hand, had a very worthy specimen from East Village on Hastings today, to wit, their brown butter and cranberry tart ($1.95). Pastry nice and flaky (and thin -- I dislike thick pastry), filling properly gooey with serious butter taste and tangy fresh crans offsetting the sweetness. Perhaps not the classic but most delicious.

                  Also impressed with the number of gluten-free baked items on offer here for them's that're watching their gluten intake for whatever reason. We had three: the coconut macaroon, a jammy cookie that my niece inhaled and a dark choc flourless cake in a mini-Bundt shape, all very decent indeed.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    The gluten free pastries at East Village Bakery are excellent. Best I have had in the city.

                    1. re: fmed

                      Agreed, and they have cranberry butter tarts for the holiday season.

          2. I bought two butter tarts at the French épicerie on Granville Island today. I haven't tried one, but my husband seemed to enjoy his. They are tall, and have neither raisins nor nuts (a plus in my books). $2.00 each. I'll see if I can attach a photo.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KGill

              Inspired by KGill's photo I purchased one the efforts from L'Epicerie @ GIM-mine had a few stray raisins but a decent crust and a standard filling neither good nor bad just passable.


              Laurelle's just around the corner in GIM surprised me with their product-the tastiest in ages (maybe lots of vanilla?) and all kinds of my beloved raisins-their crust was forgettable but forgivable given the outstanding filling.


              Chasing down a hunch stopped by Tartine on Beach Ave rumoured to have.....wait for it....tarts of distinction.

              The crust suffered from contact with a savoury product of some description and the filling was rather bleh-close to L'Epicerie in terms of being something of a standard recipe made by someone who didn't care much.


              1. re: Sam Salmon

                Mink Chocolates has a large flat Butter Tart-pastry quite dark & stodgy the filling standard with a few raisins barely worth the eating unless you really need the calories.