Monday, July 16, 2012

Ecclefechan Butter Tart

Ecclefechan Butter Tart

I will never forget the first time I baked this Scottish Tart in my family restaurant, many years ago. If memory serves me well, we were having a full Scottish menu to celebrate St Andrew's Day or was it a Burn's Supper ? Anyhow, we had the wait staff come in a wee bit early so that I could familiarize them with the special menu for the evening. 
They were a great bunch of kids, so hard working, and earned every tip that was left. One girl in particular though, who was a family friend and was always kidding around, just couldn't quite get her tongue round the Scottish words on the menu that night. She wrote them down and taped them to her tray, and paced up and down in the kitchen reciting them to herself before dinner started.
 Then the time came for her to go out to the dining room to serve her first table. It was a table of four 'mature' ladies who were very gracious in their attention to her descriptions, until she got to the Ecclefechan Butter Tart......the looks of horror on their faces will remain in my memory as one of the funniest sights I've seen !' Ekel-fek-an ' is the pronunciation, so try to say Ecclefechan Butter Tart fast if you are not familiar with it and see what comes out......haha !! What these ladies heard was a bit of course swearing with the 'f's and 't's mixed up !!
 Needless to say, they all had a good laugh when it was explained to them, and they left her one of the biggest tips she ever got for her hard work !

Ecclefechan is a small village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It is the birthplace in 1795 of Thomas Carlysle, the famous philosopher and historian.

The 'Arched House' where he spent his childhood, remains much as it did then, maintained by The National Trust for Scotland. You can read more about this little village here

Ecclefechan Butter Tart is a sweet, rich, dried fruit and walnut flan. For the pastry crust, I use a classic Pate Sucree.

Ecclefechan Butter Tart Recipe

Pastry Crust [Pate Sucree] 

Ingredients :

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 cup[2 sticks] unsalted Butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 large Egg yolks
1/4 cup ice Water
[I always add a pinch of salt to my pastry, it just seems to heighten the rich flavour]

Directions :

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and sugar. Add butter and process until mixture resembles course meal. 10 to 20 seconds.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks, add ice water. With machine running, add the egg mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds.
To test, squeeze a small amount together; if it is crumbly, add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready for use.

NOTE : Pastry can easily be made by hand - working very quickly, rub butter into flour until it resembles course meal. Make a well in the center, add the beaten eggs and ice water, quickly bring the dough together with your hands. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until use.


6oz Brown Sugar
4oz Melted Butter
2 Eggs
4 teaspoons Wine Vinegar
2 cups Mixed Dried Fruit [I used : Apricots, Prunes, Cranberries, Pineapple] Roughly chopped
2oz Chopped Walnuts

Directions :

Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
Take pastry dough from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature just long enough to be pliable by hand.
Line a flan ring [10 to 12 inch] with the pastry dough [I used 3/4 of the above pastry recipe, keeping the 1/4 for another use]
Mix fruit and walnuts together and add to pastry case.
Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, melted butter and vinegar.
Pour this mixture over the fruit and nuts.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with some lightly whipped sweet cream. Enjoy !!

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  1. I remeber the day well!! Just don't remember the server but I'm guessing either Shelly or Tissle!! Great memories of the Ekel-effin-tart!!

    1. Hey Sean, You remember that night too !!! It was hysterical and it was Tissle. I can still see your Mum with tears rolling down her cheeks in laughter that night !! We often talked about it over the years and had great memories from those days. How is 'The Twisted Cork' doing ?? Give me some updated info and I can post it here, ok ! By the way, Scottish Shortbread is in the works, but it is too rich to make in a full sheet pan...stay tuned ! Luv ya, xxx Mary

  2. Mary! This looks luscious! I can just taste the flavors, the buttery crust, tangy fruits and crunchy nuts!! Want want!! xo Ally

    1. Hi Ally, Just reach in to the pic and grab a slice !! xox Mary

  3. I'm so excited to have discovered your site through Ally on Facebook. What a fantastic recipe! Really love the story behind it and look forward to more special recipes and stories from you!

    1. Welcome Bonnie ! Thank you so much for dropping in to say 'hello' ! I have a special birthday treat for my big sister coming up....Our Mum's Walnut Gateau, which is a World War 11 recipe when Rationing was enforced in Scotland...stay tuned !