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Favorite non butter-based desserts?

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.


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  1. 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. 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

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

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

        6 Replies
        1. re: critter101

          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

            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

              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

                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

              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.

            3. 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

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

                1. re: jeanmarieok

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

              2. Lots!

                Wine-Poached Pears

                Eton Mess with raspberries


                Panna Cotta


                Chocolate Pots de Creme

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

                  1. rice pudding
                    custardsin general
                    panna cotta

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

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

                        1. Mango with sticky rice.

                          1. Grilled fruit


                            Chocolate pudding

                            Baklava (I brush coconut oil btwn the layers)


                            Dessert fondue

                            Baked apples

                            Fruit pie

                            ...just to name a few.

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

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: KaimukiMan

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

                              2. 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

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

                                2. 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. re: Beach Chick

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

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

                                        1. 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

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

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                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.