Low(er) Calorie Butter Tarts w/ Phyllo

This recipe was adapted from the one by Rose Murray from “Taste of Canada: A Culinary Journey”

I wanted to celebrate Canada Day with a day of Canadian cuisine. I had some beautiful BC smoked salmon at brunch and tender Canada Prime ribeye for dinner. But I needed dessert and nothing screams Canadian dessert more than butter tart. So now, only one problem – what about my calorie counting and boyfriend’s diabetic diet?!

After some time on google, I found a recipe that would serve as the basis for my experimentation in butter tarts. There were a few swaps I did with ingredients to fit our dietary needs.

One of the staples we use in place of most pastry doughs is Fillo Factory’s Organic Whole Wheat Phyllo. It’s easy to keep in the freezer and use for apple turnovers, appetizers, or even breakfast turnovers. I found that 3 phyllo sheets were enough to hold up the filling and we didn’t need the 6 sheets recommended in this recipe book.

Happy Canada Day!

Instead of butter, I use an olive oil cooking spray and give a light spray in between each sheet. I also substituted brown sugar with the Splenda brown sugar blend and corn syrup with agave nectar as it has a lower glycemic index (both are better options for diabetics) and because agave is sweeter than corn syrup, I used less of it. Bonus for this Canadian recipe is I use a darker agave which has a maple-y kind of flavour. Perfect for Canada Day.

Here’s the recipe, I have to say as my first time making this there were a few things I would change for next time. For example, for the amount of filling, my phyllo shells were quite large, I had cut them into 12 portions but would recommend this could be a 15 tart recipe. I may continue to experiment and post any future changes here.

3 sheets frozen whole wheat phyllo pastry
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
2 eggs
l/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
l/4 cup Agave syrup
2 tbsp melted butter (we use Earth’s Balance buttery spread)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
l/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Prepare the phyllo shells by placing one sheet phyllo on the counter or work surface, lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray, top with a second sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining phyllo sheets. Cut into 15 even squares.

Lightly spray the muffin tins (smaller size muffin tins would do well, although I used a regular muffin tin and it worked, my tarts just came out shallower).

Press the phyllo squares evenly into muffin tins, lightly spray the top of the phyllo shells.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the brown sugar, agave syrup, butter, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in the nuts. Spoon the filling evenly into the phyllo shells. The filling should be about half full.

Bake at 375°F until the pastry is golden and filling has risen a bit, this will take about 15 minutes.

Per tart: 100 calories, 9 grams carb

PS: I ate 3 tarts when they came out of the oven, I guess they aren’t so low calorie when you eat that many.


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3 Comments on “Low(er) Calorie Butter Tarts w/ Phyllo”

  1. July 5, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Welcome to the Edmonton Blogosphere, Carmen! Just read your about me page, and was sad to hear that the food culture in Edmonton appears to lack. I do believe you have met the wrong people as we have been known to celebrate our independent restaurants, Chefs, local farmers and farmer’s markets here for quite some time. I would be happy to connect you to sources and resources any time. City Market downtown is definitely the place to shop on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. It opens at 9. I could introduce you to our farmers and vendors – at least my favourites. The Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market opens at 8 and often I go there first to get what I need from my farmers there who are not downtown.
    The outdoor St Albert Farmer’s Market is the largest outdoor market in Canada so far and a really fun market to visit, too. There are so many more. Almost one every night of the week, and many of our local producers have drop off venues if you need something from them during the week, or need to make a special order. There is so much more… like the Good Food Box that will deliver all of this to your door… etc…

    • July 5, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Valerie,
      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for the offer to introduce me to various farmers’ markets. I would love it. I am quite certain my initial impressions of Edmonton’s food culture comes from not meeting the right people! I’m excited that with this blog and social media I can get engaged in larger food conversations now.

      I try to stop by the Strathcona Farmers’ Market every weekend as I get my eggs and chicken from Sunworks, my pork from Irving’s, my asparagus from Edgar’s, and my tomatoes from Gull Valley. I also made it out to City Market because we love the lemon curd tarts at Queen of Tarts.

      I haven’t yet gone to St Albert’s Market because it’s a little bit further out from where we live but your description of it has settled the issue – I’ll head out there this weekend! Will definitely have to look into Good Food Box as well as drop off locations with vendors during the week.
      I purchased a half share in a CSA program at Sunhill Gardens and having gone out to the farm this weekend, very much looking forward to the fresh produce baskets.

      I’m still looking for an organic or natural foods market to purchase general grocery items from (ex. flour, sucanat, oils, tamari, etc.). Planet Organic usually does the trick but I do miss the variety of natural food shops we had in Calgary that are more independently owned. I’ve found Bulk Barn a good source. Do you have any recommendations? I hear that Roots was a good market and hope they may be opening again.

      Thanks for the suggestions!


  1. Smoked Salmon Phyllo Tarts | foodkarma - July 23, 2011

    […] as I’ve said before, I’m loving Fillo Factory’s whole wheat phyllo sheets as they come in pretty handy so I […]

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