November 27, 2009

Ecclefechan Tarts

Ecclefechan 2 

MUNCH RATING: 4/5

You’re probably wondering, what the heck are Ecclefechan Tarts?! Well Steve and I only became aware of them last year when we attended a Sainsburys Christmas Press Show and we were offered one to try.

 

It is a traditional Scottish tart which is a combination of treacle tart and mince pie and it is a traditional recipe from Ecclefechan in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland.

Although they’re available in Sainsburys all year round, we haven’t actually bought any since we tried them. Instead I decided to try making them myself and I managed to find a recipe online. I plan to make these as Christmas gifts, so this is sort of a trial run to see how it works out.

 

CHANGES TO THE RECIPE:

Unfortunately the recipe didn’t state how much pastry was needed or how many tarts it made. So I just used the 225g of homemade Pâte Brisée (Sweet Shortcrust Pastry) that I had in the freezer. I managed to make 12 tarts from this amount of pastry, but I had so much filling leftover that I think I could have made double the amount of tarts. I have put the leftover filling into a airtight container and stored it in the fridge for another time.

 

The recipe doesn’t tell you to put a lid on the tarts and the ones we had at Sainsburys didn’t have lids, but I had little bit of pastry leftover so I thought I’d made some little Christmas trees to put on the top and I think they look good. They don’t look anything like the ones from Sainsburys as they’re not as deep and the treacle has turned quite a dark colour on mine, but that is the most delicious part of it!

 

Ecclefechan 1

 

I wasn’t sure how these were going to turn out as the recipe seemed a bit strange with the vinegar, but you can’t taste it. I added less fruit than the recipe suggested because it seemed like too much. I also whizzed up the nuts using my mini-chopper so they were quite fine instead of just chopping them by hand as I think it gave the filling a better texture.

 

TASTE TEST:

Steve and I really liked them and they tasted just as good as the Sainsburys ones (well we think they did, as we ate those ones back in July 2008 so it’s hard to remember!) and Steve’s Mum did like them but thought they were a bit too sweet. We all agreed though that they’re much nicer than mince pies and would prefer to have these at Christmas!

 

  • Makes: should make at least 24 tarts
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C
  • You will need: 2 x 12 bun tins

 

Ingredients:

  • At least 500g (I think!) Sweet Shortcrust pastry/Pâte Brisée
  • 125g (4oz) melted butter
  • 200g (6oz) soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (I just used white wine vinegar)
  • 200g (7oz) mixed dried fruit (I used sultanas and currants)
  • 50g (2oz) nuts, finely chopped ( I used walnuts and almonds)

 

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix the sugar and melted butter together, then add the beaten eggs.
  2. Stir in the vinegar, then add mixed fruit and nuts.
  3. Roll out your pastry to about 2mm thick and cut out circles to line your bun tins. (As you’re not blind baking the pastry first, put your lined tins in the fridge for about 10 minutes to prevent them shrinking).
  4. Fill each pastry case with about a Tablespoonful of the mixture (give it a good stir first as the fruit and nuts will sink to the bottom of the bowl).
  5. If you have leftover pastry then you can cut out shapes to lay on the top as lids.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C until golden brown.
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack (I usually wait until the tin is cool enough to handle but don’t leave them too long in the tins otherwise the treacle will set and you’ll have a job getting them out!).
  8. Eat them whilst they’re warm!

 

COOK’S NOTES:

  • I used up the other half of the filling by making 9 tarts, but this time I used a slightly bigger cutter so they were deeper and could hold more filling. I baked them for 25 minutes.
  • As an experiment I have put one tart in the freezer and I will thaw it out and reheat in the oven to see if they can be successfully frozen. This will be handy as I plan to give these as gifts so I can make them in advance. Watch this space! These freeze perfectly! Just defrost in the fridge overnight and then pop into a preheated oven at Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C for 15-20 minutes.

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