Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ecclefechan Tart

Crumbly pastry filled with a rich, dense fruit filling. Sound familiar? Its a sort of mince pie to eat year round instead of only at Christmas. A traditional Scottish Borders tart, Ecclefechan Tart comes from a wee village near Dumfries (not far from England) and this recipe appears to be its major export.

Variations abound depending on which baker you speak to and whose family recipe you manage to scrounge. Orange or lemon zest, cinnamon, walnuts, bright red glace cherries all appear in one version or another, occasionally a little ground almonds appear in the crust but research suggests that this instantly stops being an Ecclefechan Tart and transforms into a Borders Tart... oh the politics to be found in a dessert.

My version has walnuts for crunch, cherries for much needed colour, a weeny bit of orange zest for zestiness and absolutely no almonds in the crust.

Ecclefechan Tart

for the pastry:
225g plain flour
140g butter
2 tbsp ice cold water

Place the flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until you have a crumbly texture. Add water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball.
Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to chill. Roll out and use to line a 23cm tart tin. Line the base with foil and fill with  baking beans and bake for 10 mins. Remove the foil then bake another 5 mins then remove from the oven.

for the filling:
75g butter
175g dark soft brown sugar
2 eggs
2tsp red wine vinegar
150g sultanas
50g currants
25g glace cherries
100g walnuts, chopped
zest of one orange

Melt the butter and beat together with the sugar, eggs and vinegar. Add the fruit and nuts and zest. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pastry case and bake at 180C for 25-35 minutes. Cover the tart with foil for the last ten minutes to prevent the topping from burning.


  1. Thank you ever so much for this recipe! I appreciate the back story as much as the recipe itself. Can't wait to get to this over the weekend. (Pat)

  2. Hope you enjoy it Pat, i tried 3 versions and talked to a whole bunch of old ladies who had stories about the best way to make it - this was my favourite - make sure you have some thin cream to serve it with