Go on, say it - it's Ecclefechan good! I've just had a great time doing a radio broadcast on Share Radio UK (a digital radio station) talking about Christmas preparation. On the basis that talking about cooking meant I couldn't turn up empty handed, I brought several different brandy butters to try, plus meringues, toffee, chocolate and lemon sauces, mini mince pies and this tart, by special request of the wonderful Jules Serkin, the Share Food Show's presenter. There was quite a feast in the green room.... and pictures to prove it!
This Ecclefechan Tart is from a fabulous recipe by one of my all-time heroines, Claire Macdonald. It is named after a village in Dumfries and Galloway, and is lip-smackingly delicious. The tart I made would have been amazing, had it not had a train journey.... Also, a top tip for you would be to make sure that the butter/sugar/cream mixture is the same consistency all the way through - mine had a few lumps where the beaters had missed bits, and they formed bubbles, as you can CLEARLY see below. Oops! It did, however, taste Ecclefechan amazing...
4 ½ oz/125g butter
8 ½ oz/250g plain flour
2 fl oz/50ml whisky
5oz/150g butter (preferably unsalted) at room temperature
5oz/150g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
5 floz/150ml double cream
Good tablespoon of black treacle
10 ½ oz/300g mixed dried fruit – raisins, cranberries etc
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
Zest 1 lemon and 1 orange
Preheat the oven to 180deg C. Make the pastry (in a food processor, add the butter to the flour and salt, process until it looks like crumbs, add the whisky, but don’t over-process it). For best results, put the pastry in a ball into the fridge for 20 minutes, then roll out into a 10” (25cm) loose bottomed flan tin and prick the base lightly. You can refrigerate it again for another 20 minutes.
Bake blind – put a sheet of greaseproof paper into the case, and fill it with dried pasta/beans/lentils. Try to make sure they come up the sides of the case as well. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and bake the case for a further 5 minutes to dry it out.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs slowly until smooth. Lastly, beat in the cream. Tip the black treacle into the base and spread it all over (I heated the tin in a bowl of boiling water so it was slightly more malleable). Put the dried fruit and stem ginger in next, adding the orange and lemon zest before finally pouring on the tart mixture. Tap the tart a couple of times so that everything levels out and you don’t have any protruding raisins (as I did!).
Bake at 180 deg C for 30-35 minutes until the filling is just set, or golden brown. Protect with baking paper if it is getting too brown too quickly.
Cool the tart for about 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream spiked with ginger syrup and a bit of treacle.