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Ecclefechan tarts recipe

Ecclefechan tarts recipe


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  • Pies and tarts
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  • Nut pie

A delicious alternative to mince pies at Christmas. This Scottish dessert can also be made as a larger tart.


County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK

57 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 24 tarts

  • For the pastry
  • 120g chilled salted butter, diced
  • 175g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons cold water
  • For the filling
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 110g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300g raisins
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • To serve
  • Icing sugar
  • Whipped cream

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:15min ›Extra time:30min chilling › Ready in:1hr

  1. For the pastry: Place the butter, flour, sugar and egg yolk in the bowl of a food processor; blend until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add one or two tablespoons of cold water and blend again until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Lightly grease and dust two 12-hole bun tins with plain flour.
  3. For the filling: Beat butter and sugar together until lighter in colour. Add beaten eggs and mix again. Stir in raisins, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is about 2mm thick. Use an 8cm cutter or the rim of a glass to stamp out pastry circles to line the bun tins. You will need to re-roll the pastry trimmings a few times before you have enough.
  5. Spoon the filling into each tart shell until about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until pastry is lightly golden in colour. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  7. Dust with icing sugar just before serving or heat them up and serve with whipped cream.

To make pastry by hand:

Place the butter, flour and sugar in a bowl and rub together until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 or 2 tablespoons of cold water; mix with your hands until the pastry comes together in a ball. Wrap with cling film and chill for one hour.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Nice enough recipe but please be careful about how much butter you use. Even a slight amount extra makes it too greasy.-31 Dec 2015


Scottish food: the famous Ecclefechan Butter Tart

You thought I was done with the Scottish food? Guess again! It’s the Ecclefechan Butter Tart!


This is similar to one of the first sweet tarts I ever learned to make, called “Border Tart”. This was a simple pastry shell, filled with dried fruits, cherries and nuts, all in a soft mixture of sugar, eggs and ground almonds. Taking it up a notch, today’s recipe is the slightly fancier Ecclefechan Butter Tart, which originates in the Scottish Borders town of Ecclefechan. The difference between this and the Border Tart is (and from this point, I am probably just making parts of it up) seems to the loss of the almonds, a lot of butter, and a deeper filling in the Ecclefechan Tart. They might also have different fruit…


In fact, I know they have different fruit in them. Mixed dried fruit used to contain sultanas, raisins and – if you were lucky – a few small pieces of bright scarlet glacé cherry. The bag I picked up had two sorts of sultanas (normal! golden!) plus raisins, apricots, peel and dried cranberries. I’m sure granny wouldn’t approve. But no cherry, so I added a goodly amount of them too. It was interesting to see that the ones I found were “natural” and a deep reddish-purple. Probably better for you, but part of me misses the neon red cherries from back in the day.

This recipe came to prominence a couple of years ago, as these tarts were presented as an alternative to mince pies at Christmas. Leaving to one side why anyone would want to replace the mince pie (hey, we only eat them for one month of the year, hardly over-exposed!), I can see why this would be appealing – you have a buttery pastry, a filling of mixed dried fruits and chopped nuts, enrobed in brown sugar, but without any spices. And the texture? Ah, that’s where the magic happens. The best way to describe it is like the filling in similar to a pecan pie, but with lots of fruit instead of just the nuts. Most of the filling becomes a thick, rich, buttery caramel, while the surface becomes slightly puffed-up and lightly browned, contrasting with the dark inside.

As if all this were not enough, there is also one “mystery ingredient” to provoke a no, really? moment – a tablespoon of vinegar. I really have no idea what this does, but it works in this tart, so don’t skip this step. Just be sure to limit yourself to one spoonful, and use a wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar – industrial vinegar is just that little bit too sharp for me, and I don’t think it would work too well here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little gastronomic tour through Scottish cuisine – how often do you make traditional foods?


To make an Ecclefechan Butter Tart:

For the pastry:

• 100g plain flour
• 50g butter, cold, cut into cubes
• 25g caster sugar
• 1 egg yolk

In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg yolk and just enough cold water so the mixture comes together (1-2 tablespoons of water is probably enough). Cover the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Use to line a 20cm loose-bottomed flan dish, and prick with a fork. Place the tart shell in the fridge while making the filling.

For the filling:

• 125g butter, melted and cooled
• 200g soft brown sugar
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 50g walnuts, chopped
• 250g dried mixed fruit
• 50g glacé cherries

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).

In a bowl, combine the sugar, butter and eggs. Stir in the vinegar, walnuts, dried fruit and cherries. Pour into the pastry shell.

Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is slightly puffy and lightly browned in the centre (turn the tart during baking).

Worth making?Wow. This tart is superb. Lots of dried fruit might make you think of Christmas, the buttery filling is more like a pecan pie. It’s rich and sweet and a great afternoon treat, either as one large tart or individual little pies. I made it to take to afternoon tea with a housebound friend, and like to think that it helped with recuperation!


Variations of Ecclefechan tarts

Some versions will use a mixture of dried fruit, in place of just currants, but older versions used currants for the most part.

The filling of the tarts may be runnier with a clearer top, or more solid, with a golden sugar crust on top, depending on the recipe variation used.

Typically, the recipe contains no spices, though a 2004 American take on the recipe which appeared in Bon Appétit magazine [1] Ecclefechan Tart Recipe. Bon Appétit Magazine. May 2004. introduced cinnamon (and swapped out the vinegar for lemon juice.)

Ecclefechan butter tarts are often laid out on festive tables along with other traditional Scottish foods. They can look particularly festive if dried or candied cherries are included in the fruit mix.

American Pecan Pie and Pecan Tassies, as well as Canadian Butter Tarts, are later North American variations of Ecclefechan butter tarts, which have been made since the 1700s.


Modern Scottish recipe: Ecclefechan Tart

Mix all dry ingredients together till a breadcrumb consistency.

Add the egg and work to a pastry, once formed, stop working so the pastry will stay short.

Wrap and chill in the Fridge for a few hours.

Once the pastry has rested bring out the fridge and roll on a lightly floured surface.

Place in a tart case (28cm) and push down into the corners making sure there is no cracks or holes. Chill again in the fridge.

Pierce the pastry case with a fork and blind bake for 25 minutes at 170 degrees.

Remove the baking beans and bake for another 7-10 minutes till golden brown. Once ready egg wash with a beaten egg yolk while warm to seal any small cracks.

For the Ecclefechan Filling:

While the tart case is baking get the filling ready.

Add the Currents, Raisins, Golden Raisins, Mixed Peel, Mixed Spice, Walnuts and Breadcrumbs in a large bowl.

Add the Butter, Sugar and Syrup and a pan.

Warm to dissolve the sugar. Whisk to ensure the sugar is dissolved and the butter is emulsified. Add the whisky to the caramel and whisk.

Add the caramel mix to the dry mix and stir well. Add the eggs one at a time and stir well. Once all the eggs are mixed in add the Filling to the case and bake at 170 degrees for 25 minutes.

Once cooked the tart should have a very very slight wobble. Allow to cool fully before trimming and portioning the tart.

• For this recipe and more visit the Sugar Boat


An excellent Ecclefechan butter tart recipe

Ecclefechan butter tart

Ecclefechan butter tart

  • For the pastry: 150g flour
  • 80g butter (soft and unsalted)
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • For the filling: 80g soft brown sugar
  • 60g soft butter
  • 1 egg
  • 60g golden raisins
  • 60g dark raisins
  • 20g chopped walnuts
  • 20g pine kernels
  • Zest of 1 lemon (fine) and juice
  • To make the pastry, start by preheating the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 6. Mix the flour, butter and icing sugar to a fine crumble and then add the egg. Knead with both hands to make a smooth, pliable dough and then allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Roll out and line an 8in/20cm fluted flan ring. Mark the bottom of the pastry with a fork then blind bake for 10 minutes with baking beans and parchment paper. Remove the beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  • To make the filling, mix the brown sugar and soft butter, then add the egg, raisins, nuts, lemon zest and juice. Pour into the pastry case and bake until the center is firm. Serve hot or cold with whipped cream or ice-cream.

Today we present a delicious recipe for dessert, from French chef, the former owner of the Silver Darling restaurant at Aberdeen harbour.

Didier Dejean opened his seafood restaurant The Silver Darling in 1986, having previously worked in Paris before following a colleague to Aberdeen.

As the oil industry developed, things changed. ‘Before the oil, Aberdeen was like a big village,’ Didier says, ‘and then, boom, the oil arrived, and thousands of people came with new ideas and it changed a lot.’

The original emphasis on fresh, local produce is still in place today. Inspiration for new dishes comes from travel and eating out. ‘If you go to a restaurant, you take a little idea from a dish and then you do the dish in your own way,’ Didier says. ‘I like to eat out, but I try not to go to the same places. The problem in Aberdeen now is there are a lot of chains.’

(This recipe was originally published in 2016. Didier has since sold the Silver Darling)


This Ecclefechan tart recipe is a real crowd pleaser and a great alternative to mince pies

© Shutterstock / CKP1001

Martin Hollis, executive chef at the Old Course Resort in St Andrews, shares a recipe for Ecclefechan tart

The Ecclefechan tart originated in the village of Ecclefechan in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s the perfect dessert to serve at this time of year: the buttery pastry and dried fruit mix make it a delicious alternative to mince pies.

I’m sharing a traditional Scottish recipe with you that we are currently serving in the Road Hole Restaurant – a real crowd pleaser, it serves eight.

Serve it with some spiced caramelised apples and nice ice cream on the side to really bring out the flavours.

If you are thinking of using this recipe during the festive season, garnish it with cinn amon, grated lemon peel and whipped cream.


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Ecclefechan tarts - recipe

For the pastry, sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, alternatively you can do this in a food processor.

For this step you'll need:

  • 125g Plain white flour
  • 40g Icing sugar to dust
  • Salt
  • 60g Butter (salted) melted

Mix the egg yolk and extract into the flour mixture and add a tablespoon of cold water.

For this step you'll need:

Using a butter knife bring the pastry together, adding a little more water if needed. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile mix all the filling ingredients together.

For this step you'll need:

  • 60g Butter (salted) melted
  • 100g Unrefined dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 Egg(s) (free range) medium, beaten
  • 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 100g Dried mixed fruits
  • 60g Glace cherries chopped
  • 30g Almonds (flaked)
  • 1tsp Orange extract

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C, gas mark 4). Roll out the pastry to about a 3mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use a 7.5 cm round cutter to stamp out 12 discs and line a 12 hole deep bun tin. Prick the pastry cases with a fork.

Divide the fruit mixture between the cases.

Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until golden, cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve.


Scottish food: the famous Ecclefechan Butter Tart

You thought I was done with the Scottish food? Guess again! It’s the Ecclefechan Butter Tart!


This is similar to one of the first sweet tarts I ever learned to make, called “Border Tart”. This was a simple pastry shell, filled with dried fruits, cherries and nuts, all in a soft mixture of sugar, eggs and ground almonds. Taking it up a notch, today’s recipe is the slightly fancier Ecclefechan Butter Tart, which originates in the Scottish Borders town of Ecclefechan. The difference between this and the Border Tart is (and from this point, I am probably just making parts of it up) seems to the loss of the almonds, a lot of butter, and a deeper filling in the Ecclefechan Tart. They might also have different fruit…


In fact, I know they have different fruit in them. Mixed dried fruit used to contain sultanas, raisins and – if you were lucky – a few small pieces of bright scarlet glacé cherry. The bag I picked up had two sorts of sultanas (normal! golden!) plus raisins, apricots, peel and dried cranberries. I’m sure granny wouldn’t approve. But no cherry, so I added a goodly amount of them too. It was interesting to see that the ones I found were “natural” and a deep reddish-purple. Probably better for you, but part of me misses the neon red cherries from back in the day.

This recipe came to prominence a couple of years ago, as these tarts were presented as an alternative to mince pies at Christmas. Leaving to one side why anyone would want to replace the mince pie (hey, we only eat them for one month of the year, hardly over-exposed!), I can see why this would be appealing – you have a buttery pastry, a filling of mixed dried fruits and chopped nuts, enrobed in brown sugar, but without any spices. And the texture? Ah, that’s where the magic happens. The best way to describe it is like the filling in similar to a pecan pie, but with lots of fruit instead of just the nuts. Most of the filling becomes a thick, rich, buttery caramel, while the surface becomes slightly puffed-up and lightly browned, contrasting with the dark inside.

As if all this were not enough, there is also one “mystery ingredient” to provoke a no, really? moment – a tablespoon of vinegar. I really have no idea what this does, but it works in this tart, so don’t skip this step. Just be sure to limit yourself to one spoonful, and use a wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar – industrial vinegar is just that little bit too sharp for me, and I don’t think it would work too well here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little gastronomic tour through Scottish cuisine – how often do you make traditional foods?


To make an Ecclefechan Butter Tart:

For the pastry:

• 100g plain flour
• 50g butter, cold, cut into cubes
• 25g caster sugar
• 1 egg yolk

In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg yolk and just enough cold water so the mixture comes together (1-2 tablespoons of water is probably enough). Cover the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Use to line a 20cm loose-bottomed flan dish, and prick with a fork. Place the tart shell in the fridge while making the filling.

For the filling:

• 125g butter, melted and cooled
• 200g soft brown sugar
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 50g walnuts, chopped
• 250g dried mixed fruit
• 50g glacé cherries

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).

In a bowl, combine the sugar, butter and eggs. Stir in the vinegar, walnuts, dried fruit and cherries. Pour into the pastry shell.

Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is slightly puffy and lightly browned in the centre (turn the tart during baking).

Worth making?Wow. This tart is superb. Lots of dried fruit might make you think of Christmas, the buttery filling is more like a pecan pie. It’s rich and sweet and a great afternoon treat, either as one large tart or individual little pies. I made it to take to afternoon tea with a housebound friend, and like to think that it helped with recuperation!


NEIL'S RECIPES: ECCLEFECHAN TART

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter. Beat until light and fluffy, then add the egg and combine. Sift in the flour and gently bring together into a ball.

Then press the dough into a round, flat shape and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out using a good amount of flour on top of some on cling film. That makes it easier to lift and lay the pastry into the tart case.

Butter a 10" loose-based round tart tin and dust with flour to make it non-stick. Then line with the rolled sweet pastry followed by 3 sheets of cling film. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes, then add baking beans and bake at 180°C for 30 to 40 minutes until golden. Remove the baking beans, brush with an egg wash and the tart shell is ready for your filling.

120g soft dark brown sugar

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Whip the melted butter and soft dark brown sugar together. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and add slowly to the butter and sugar. Mix in the raisins and walnuts, then add the lemon juice, zest and cinnamon and give another good mix.

Add the mix to the tart shell whilst it’s still warm, and smooth over using a wet palette knife. Bake in a moderate oven (around145-165°C) for 30 to 45 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Be careful of burning the raisins in the oven. Placing another tray on the shelf above the tart will help to stop the harsh heat burning them.

Remove from oven and leave to stand for half an hour. Then remove from the tin, dredge with icing sugar and serve.


Watch the video: How to Make Ecclefechan Tarts and Scottish Insults Part 3