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Favorite non butter-based desserts?

ipsedixit Dec 9, 2012 11:22 AM

What are your favorite desserts without (or with very very little) butter?

So, for example, a fruit tart would not count, but a pavlova would.

Similarly, a sponge cake or a meringue would be ok, but not a classic genoise.

I think mine would be, in no particular order, Tiramisu, Cheesecake, Mochi balls w/ Azuki beans, and Ice Cream.


  1. f
    foodieX2 Dec 9, 2012 11:29 AM

    In posing this question you have made me realize that there are very few desserts I like that don't have butter.

    I am not a huge sweet eater to begin with (give me french fries over the finest chocolates) but when I do want something sweet it is usually something with caramel or something with a nice buttery crust or puff pastry.

    Even cheese cake needs to have buttery crust or at least a salted caramel sauces….

    So my answer is NONE!

    1. tim irvine Dec 9, 2012 11:49 AM

      Stilton and Port...gotta have that animal fat and this isn't technically butter!

      I love the Julia Child saying, "If you're afraid of butter, use cream."

      1 Reply
      1. re: tim irvine
        ipsedixit Dec 9, 2012 11:52 AM

        Well, it's not so much fear, but deep dislike.

      2. c
        critter101 Dec 9, 2012 11:55 AM

        Old fashioned bread pudding. I made one last night with panettone and served it with fresh berries...yum.

        6 Replies
        1. re: critter101
          foodieX2 Dec 9, 2012 12:06 PM

          I have never seen a bread pudding recipe that does not call for butter! Never mind the sauce that most include usually have a whole stick of the stuff. Care to share your recipe?

          1. re: foodieX2
            ipsedixit Dec 9, 2012 12:12 PM

            Bread pudding does not have to be made with butter (in fact, I do it all the time), and it's probably better without it.

            Bread pudding, at its core, is essentially some sort of bread or carbohydrate drenched in custard, and then baked in a water bath. And custard, traditionally, is just a combo of milk, eggs, and sugar.

            Of course, you can dress up bread pudding in all sorts of fashion, with sauces and what-not, but bread pudding can absolutely be made without any butter (assuming you are using a bread that has no butter to begin with).

            1. re: foodieX2
              chowser Dec 9, 2012 12:13 PM

              I rarely use butter in my bread pudding. Plenty of cream or half and half and eggs/egg yolks but never butter. There might be butter in the bread but I think quick breads like pumpkin bread are better in bread pudding w/out butter/oil.

              Something along these lines:


              1. re: chowser
                tim irvine Dec 10, 2012 05:13 PM

                Absolutely! Made one the other night with old hamburger buns, skim milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and a few pecans. I just put it in a ceramic casserole and baked it. It was tasty, despite being made ostensibly from nonfat junk food.

            2. re: critter101
              critter101 Dec 9, 2012 04:06 PM

              Here's the recipe using leftover white bread. As I said, I substituted panettone (don't have the package, so not sure if it contained butter. I did cut the amount of sugar in half, since the panettone itself is sweet):

              Old Fashioned Bread Pudding
              2 slightly beaten eggs
              2 1/4 cups half and half
              1/2 cup sugar
              1 tsp. vanilla
              1/2 tsp. cinnamon
              1/4 tsp. salt
              2 cups day old white bread, cubed
              1/2 cup raisins (optional)
              Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first six ingredients and mix together well. Add remaining ingredients and pour into an 8 or 9 inch square oven proof dish. Sprinkle top with an additional bit of sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place dish in a larger pan of hot water, about 1 inch deep - forming a water bath. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted between center and edge comes out clean.

              1. re: critter101
                foodieX2 Dec 9, 2012 04:10 PM

                sounds great, thank you!

            3. chowser Dec 9, 2012 12:09 PM

              Many desserts that use butter can be done w/ lard and often is better--eg pie crusts, tarts, even chinese almond cookies. I love the flakiness of chinese almond cookies w/ lard. I love "puff" pastry w/ adzuki beans. Happy mouth cookies:


              It's debatable for me whether I prefer butter based or non-butter based desserts (ice cream, panna cotta, mochi, custard tarts, etc.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowser
                jeanmarieok Dec 11, 2012 12:41 PM

                I like a lard pie crust much better than a butter one!

                1. re: jeanmarieok
                  ipsedixit Dec 11, 2012 03:16 PM

                  As do I, but it's usually 50/50 lard and shortening.

              2. chefathome Dec 9, 2012 04:12 PM


                Wine-Poached Pears

                Eton Mess with raspberries


                Panna Cotta


                Chocolate Pots de Creme

                1. prima Dec 9, 2012 06:29 PM

                  Iles flottantes
                  Chocolate mousse
                  Charlotte Russe
                  Loukamades and other types of fried dough

                  1. m
                    magiesmom Dec 9, 2012 07:04 PM

                    rice pudding
                    custardsin general
                    panna cotta

                    1. alkonost Dec 9, 2012 07:20 PM

                      fresh figs baked with honey & cinnamon topped with goat cheese.

                      1. DarthEater Dec 10, 2012 06:12 AM

                        I've seen old fashion red velvet cake made with shortening topped with boiled frosting recipes.

                        1. g
                          gordeaux Dec 10, 2012 06:31 PM

                          Mango with sticky rice.

                          1. h
                            HillJ Dec 10, 2012 06:44 PM

                            Grilled fruit


                            Chocolate pudding

                            Baklava (I brush coconut oil btwn the layers)


                            Dessert fondue

                            Baked apples

                            Fruit pie

                            ...just to name a few.

                            1. KaimukiMan Dec 11, 2012 05:46 AM

                              ice cream, angel food cake, cheesecake, trifle, parfait

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                KaimukiMan Dec 11, 2012 04:53 PM

                                and i forgot one... banana lumpia (ala mode is good... LOL)

                              2. JungMann Dec 11, 2012 06:48 AM

                                I never realized how many of my favorite dessert sneak in a little butter here and there: baklava, boondi ladoo, profiteroles.

                                If we're going to strictly define this as a butter-free sweet I would have for dessert and not just a snack, I'd have to go with flan, blancmange and sapin-sapin (coconut rice cakes).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JungMann
                                  HillJ Dec 11, 2012 06:50 AM

                                  JungM, I didn't even list my ladoo love because of the ghee content!

                                2. j
                                  John Francis Dec 11, 2012 09:40 AM

                                  Macedoine of fruit aka fruit cocktail. Doctor it with a little port or madeira.

                                  Melons such as canteloupe and honeydew.


                                  Pudding, creme caramel, flan.

                                  Ice cream, sherbet. Do a parfait.

                                  1. p
                                    pine time Dec 11, 2012 09:59 AM


                                    1. b
                                      Beach Chick Dec 11, 2012 03:24 PM

                                      Chocolate Pots de Creme

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Beach Chick
                                        chefathome Dec 11, 2012 04:32 PM

                                        Am making these this weekend. Love them. The recipe I use makes them incredibly silky and truffle-like.

                                      2. b
                                        BuildingMyBento Dec 11, 2012 04:09 PM

                                        Probably many things in Southeast Asia. Mango sticky rice. Fruit in general, and specifically. Cereal, even! Honey roasted legumes.

                                        1. h
                                          harryharry Dec 11, 2012 04:18 PM

                                          Curious why you posed this question - clearly it has nothing to do with dairy or fat, unless you've created the perfect vegan tiramisu....

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: harryharry
                                            KaimukiMan Dec 11, 2012 04:55 PM

                                            the OP (like a relative of mine) doesn't like the flavor of butter.

                                            1. re: KaimukiMan
                                              ipsedixit Dec 11, 2012 07:00 PM

                                              Thank you KMan.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                KaimukiMan Dec 11, 2012 08:01 PM

                                                sure thing. i've always loved butter, but i totally understand how someone wouldn't. the taste and mouth feel are very unique and i can easily see it being off-putting, and there are just too many fat options if there is one you don't like.

                                          2. h
                                            H Manning Dec 11, 2012 04:33 PM

                                            Panna Cotta

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