Ecclefechan Butter Tart

January 21, 2022

So woweee! Look-y here! If it isn’t an Ecclefechan Butter Tart! This rich, scrumptious delight is reminiscent of a pecan pie, but has so much more than just nuts. It is bursting with warm cinnamon spiced fruit which is enrobed in a rich buttery whisky caramel. Yup. You heard me. Whisky caramel!

But what is up with the name you might ask. This tasty treat hails from the Scottish border town of Ecclefechan (Scottish Gaelic: Eaglais Fheichein – pronounced Ekel – feck – an) in Dumfries and Galloway. I must admit I love the name. It sounds a bit like the butter tart has somehow annoyed me and I’m cursing and blinding at it!

And today is perfect timing for a Scottish recipe. That’s right- January 25th, which is coming soon, is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. Indeed, this Ecclefechan Butter Tart would be a very welcome addition to any Burns Night Supper. I’ve actually posted quite a few tasty Burns Night dishes in the past. Last year there was this gorgeous Cock-a-leekie Pie:

And remember my  Steak Auld Reekie served over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

Or how about these Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas? This post is really fun because it is one of my travel postings telling you all about a fun trip (remember when we used to be able to travel…) we took to Glasgow a few years ago.

And if you are intrigued by Scottish travel – just take a look at these Scottish Oat Cakes which are featured in my post about our journey to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands for their annual Up Helly Aa celebration, which is a Viking Fire Festival. How exciting it that?!! (Sadly, yet understandably, Up Helly Aa 2021 and 2022 have been cancelled. Yup…thanks once again Covid.)

But back to more Burns Night recipes, how about some infamous Scotch Eggs:

Perhaps you would like your Scotch eggs deviled?

Or maybe nestled within a meat pie?

If pie is not your thing (and I have no idea what you’re like if it isn’t…), how about this Cock-a-leekie Soup:

which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.

And for dessert, could I possibly tempt you with Chranachan. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)

Or maybe you’d enjoy this Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade

I think you get the picture. My blog is chock full of inspirational tasty Scottish dishes! A Burns Night cornucopia if you will. And let me add another delicious tidbit with today’s offering: Good ole Ecclefechan Butter Tart! (See…sounds like you might be a bit miffed at the Butter Tart huh?)

Well there is absolutely no reason to be angry! No, instead you will be exceedingly pleased with this silky gorgeous buttery tart! And no doubt Robbie Burns would’ve been pleased as well. After all, he was familiar with the town and likely it’s tarts as well (Ha! I just had to get a tart joke in there…We all know Robbie Burns was quite the ladies’ man). He did pen The Lass O’ Ecclefechan, a polite adaptation of the traditional bawdy song “O Gat Ye Me Wi’ Naething“. I wouldn’t be surprised if that Ecclefechan Lass he was talking about could bake up a tasty version of this Tart!

Easy to make, you can serve it slightly warm or at room temperature. It is absolutely fantastic all on its own, but is over the top with a big dollop of Whisky Whipped Cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So on January 25th I hope you will make some of these fine Scottish dishes that I shared with you today and join me in raising a wee dram and toast to Robert Burns, Scotlands favorite son.

  • Servings: 11 inch tart
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: The Sugar Boat via The Scotsman Food & Drink

Ingredients:

For the Sweet Pastry:

  • 250 gram All-purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 gram Icing or Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 15 gram Cornstarch
  • 125 gram Unsalted Butter, Cold
  • 1 Whole Egg

For the Tart Filling:

  • 200 grams Dried Currents
  • 100 grams Raisins
  • 100 grams Golden Raisins
  • 50 grams Mixed Peel
  • 100 grams Chopped Walnuts
  • 15 grams Mixed Spice (a good substitute for folks in the States is Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 35 grams Breadcrumbs
  • 200 grams Butter
  • 200 grams Dark Brown Sugar
  • 60 grams Golden Syrup
  • 50 grams Whisky (The type with no “e” in it. Whiskey is Irish, like Jameson for instance. Whisky is Scotch.)
  • 4 whole Eggs

Directions:

For the Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 170°C or 325°F.

Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour mixture and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the egg to the mixture and pulse until a dough begins to form. Turn out onto your clean workspace and knead the dough just enough to form a ball. Take care not to overwork the dough. Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Once the pastry has rested, remove from the fridge and roll out to a 12″ diameter circle. Place the dough into an 11″ tart pan, pressing down into the corners to make sure there are no cracks. The dough should crest 1/2″ above the rim of the pan. Cover tart pan with aluminum foil and place back in the fridge to chill, about 1/2 hour.

Remove the tart pan from the fridge, pull back the aluminum foil and pierce the dough everywhere with a fork. Replace the foil and add pie weights or chain. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the weights and foil and place back in the oven to bake for another 7 – 10 minutes, or until the crust is a warm golden brown. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. While pastry is still warm, brush it with a beaten egg yolk to seal any small cracks.

For the Filling:

Place the Currents, Raisins, Golden Raisins, Mixed Peel, Mixed Spice, Walnuts and Breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

Place butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir until butter and sugar are melted. Whisk to ensure the sugar has melted and the butter is emulsified. Add whisky. It will bubble up when you do this, just keep whisking.

Pour the caramel over the fruit mixture and stir well. Add the eggs one at a time and stir well after each addition.

Once all the eggs are mixed in add the Filling to the tart pan and bake at 170°C or 325°F for 25 minutes.

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

Ideally overnight. Dust with confectioners sugar if you desire. Serve it room temperature or slightly warm with whisky whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Ecclefechan Butter Tart:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Nickel Plated Brass Pie Weight Chain

English Mixed Spice


Chranachan (Toasted Almond Pudding) & Irish Butter Shortbread

March 16, 2011

You actually get two recipes in one posting today, but they go together so well, I couldn’t resist. Chranachan is a unique dessert more commonly found in the North of Ireland, where there is a strong Scottish influence. This recipe does feature Irish whiskey, so I’m satisfied it is Irish enough to be included in my St. Patrick’s Day recipes. An interesting aside about the spelling of “whiskey”- I’m sure you’ve probably seen it spelled both “whisky” and “whiskey” in various places. “Whisky” without the “e” indicates that it is a product from Scotland, Wales, Canada or Japan. Whiskey, spelled with an “e” indicates that it is a product of Ireland or the United States. However, just having said that, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decreed in 1968 that “whisky” would be spelled without an “e” in America. Many distilleries had been producing their whiskey for quite a while at that point and chose to keep spelling it with the “e”.  So you’ll actually find both spellings in the US. While we are on the subject of whiskey, the word “whiskey”  was borrowed by the English from the Irish Gaelic uisce beatha, which is pronounced like ish-ge bah-hah. It  means “water of life”.

 

Jameson Irish Whiskey...of course!

Back to the pudding-it really is quite yummy. You might want to keep it away from the young kids, the Irish Whiskey is pretty prominent! You can serve it in a cosmo glass, like I did, or I think it would look lovely in a tall glass as well. I drizzled a little Baileys over the top of the pudding (cause there just wasn’t enough alcohol in it!) and served it with some Irish Butter Shortbread. I painted a little Celtic design on the shortbread in white chocolate which I dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

Chranachan

2/3 Cup uncooked rolled oats

1/3 Cup slivered almonds

1 1/4 Cups heavy whipping cream

4 Tablespoons Honey

5 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Baileys Irish Cream-to drizzle on top

Strawberries or raspberries to garnish

Directions:

On a baking sheet, toast the oatmeal and almonds at 300° F for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whip the cream.

Stir in the honey and whisky. Gently fold in almonds and oatmeal. Stir in the lemon juice. Divide into individual glasses. Drizzle some Baileys over the top. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with berries and serve with Irish Shortbread.

Recipe from Celtic Folklore Cooking by Joanne Asala

Irish Butter Shortbread

Ingredients:

1 Cup Irish unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar

2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour. Continue mixing until dough comes together to form a ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface; roll out dough to about 1/4 ” thickness, dusting rolling-pin with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Using a 2″ cutter, cut out dough. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1″ apart. Gather up any scraps, gently re-roll, and repeat cutting process. Take care not to over work dough.

Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until shortbread just begins to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Shortbread may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe from Rachel Gaffney


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