Hank’s Pastries in Port Perry
a Butter Tart Quest
One of the best things about taking a day trip is getting to explore and discover the many charming towns and villages you find along the way. When you take a road trip just an hour Northeast of Toronto towards the lake country, one of the small towns you will want to discover is Port Perry.
Exploring Port Perry
Situated on the southwestern banks of Lake Scugog, the lovely little town of Port Perry has all of the charm, history, and heritage that you will seek in visiting small-town Ontario. Port Perry’s main streets are dotted with historic Victorian-style buildings, that house some quaint shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and bakeries that you will enjoy exploring.
Port Perry’s main street will lead you right to the water’s edge, where two beautiful parks are popular spots to visit. Palmer’s Park & Birdseye Park are beautiful green spaces that offer you a bucolic setting to watch boats sail past and let the waterfowl frolicking in the water amuse you as you enjoy a picnic lunch. There is a lovely trail that is perfect for a walk along the lake. It takes you from Palmers park to the Port Perry Marina and boat launch, Birdseye park, and a boardwalk for lovely lakefront views.
Discover more about visiting Port Perry, Here.
The most iconic structure on the Port Perry landscape is the historic Port Perry grain elevator, located right at the foot of Queen St at the lakefront. Constructed in 1874, this is the oldest grain elevator in Canada and is a focal point of the town. The large building towers over the village with Port Perry emblazoned on the side.
American Gods in Port Perry
The first time we visited Port Perry in May 2019, the grain elevator was the classic burgundy colour you would recognize. The next time we visited was May 2020, and the facade had changed to a greyish blue colour with retro-looking signs for retail shops. We assumed this was just an updated paint job to reflect the new businesses that had moved in. It turns out we were there during the period when the Starz TV show “American Gods” was filming season 3 episodes using Port Perry as the setting for the town of “Lakeside”. I only just learned this fact as I am currently watching the series, and recognizing many Canadian locations like my home town of Guelph. If you are a fan of the show, Season 3 starts soon, and you might enjoy playing ‘spot the location’ as I do.
Hank’s Pastries Bake Shop
One of the sweetest spots to check out when you visit Port Perry is Hank’s Pastries bakery. Hank’s is a family run business established in 1963. They have been serving many delicious baked goods to generations of residents and visitors to Port Perry. Hank’s offers its customers classic made-from-scratch baked goods done the old-fashioned way using natural ingredients with no fillers or preservatives.
The Butter Tarts
We visit bakeries primarily to try their butter tarts for our butter tart quest, which drew us into Hank’s Pastries. They offer a few good flavours to choose from – including plain (no raisin), walnut, and chocolate chip.
The butter tarts at Hank’s Pastries are a really nice-looking tart. They are well cooked, evenly baked with a nice light golden crust. There is no burnt sugar appearance or any other real imperfections. There is great consistency in the butter tarts that ensures each tart is as lovely as the next.
The pastry is thin but firm enough to hold together nicely. The crust has a nice slight crispy texture, but still very light and flaky, with no greasiness. The flavour of the crust is very subtle, with nothing to overpower the experience.
The butter tarts filling is a nice thick gelatinous consistency, with a rich buttery smooth texture. The filling has a delightful brown sugar tasting flavour. There is no sugary crystallization nugget on the bottom. The filling will not ooze out on you if you are eating as you walk through town – so no mess to worry about.
These butter tarts are not very large, and the pastry shell is not very thick. The balance between crust to filling is fantastic, with a very consistent ratio from tart to tart.
The butter tarts from Hank’s Pastries are a pretty satisfying little treat. They are sweet without being too overly sweet. The flavours for the crust and the filling together make for a tasty combination. You will delight in consuming these butter tarts very much. The chocolate chip is my favourite of the flavours. The butter tarts hold together nicely, and they travel fairly well – they look as good when you get home as they did in the store. And if you are eating in the car – no plate is required.
Beyond the Butter Tarts
Hank’s Pastries have such a wide variety of sweet offerings that are sure to satisfy everyone. Hank’s has it all from cookies, cupcakes, custom cakes, and sweet & savoury treats of all kinds. Some of our favourite treats are the Dutch Pencees, the Eccles cakes, and the decadent cupcakes. One item that keeps us coming back is the fantastic cinnamon buns, which are to die for. I often eat two on the car ride home.
Hank’s Pastries is also a fantastic place to enjoy a light meal in their dining room (when indoor dining is permitted again).
Whether you’re here for the day or staying for the weekend, downtown Port Perry has plenty to offer. Take a walk throughout the town and admire the many historic buildings. Explore the quaint shops and stores on the main street. If you enjoy great craft beer (and who doesn’t) – don’t forget to check out Old Flame Brewing co. when you are in town. The many restaurants and bistros offer delicious food, including farm-to-table options, to delight your palate. Enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk or rail trial; or relax by the water in the park. Port Perry is a beautiful destination any time of year.
You will be pleasantly surprised by Port Perry
*note: All butter tart reviews are our opinions only, based on our experiences and personal preferences. Your experiences and opinions may vary.
If you know of a great bakery making amazing butter tarts, we would love to hear from you. Let us know about them, so we can plan a future road trip to check them out, and include them in our #ButterTartQuest.
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