How to Make The Best Old School Butterscotch Tart

(This post has been updated from the original May 2015 version to provide a better experience for you)

In this post you will learn how to make your very own nostalgic Butterscotch Tart! Literally my favourite dessert from school, I actually used to skip dinner altogether and just have 2 servings of this whenever it was on the menu. I loved it that much! This old school dessert went by many names across the country (butterscotch tart, caramel tart & even gypsy tart) but they were all the same and all tasted amazing! Speaking of old school desserts, have you seen my treacle tart recipe? Another one of my faves!

Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board

When I think of school dinners I personally only think of one thing… Butterscotch Tart. I LOVED this pudding when I was in school. So much so that, on my last day, I asked a dinner lady for the recipe. It was on this scrappy bit of paper that got mislaid over the years. I honestly thought it was lost forever.

Until one day – I was being nosy at my parents house (as you do) and to my utter surprise & elation, found the scrappy bit of paper! The recipe was a little on the vague side but nothing I couldn’t work out if I put my mind to it. And I was very determined.

Straight away I just knew you lovely bunch would love it too so I had to share once I’d figured it out!

Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board

Top Tips for Making Butterscotch Tart

  • Don’t skip the butterscotch essence/flavouring. It’s the key ingredient to making it taste exactly as it did in school.
  • Struggling to source butterscotch essence? Scroll to the bottom of this post. I’ve got you a link to a great one that’s available on Amazon.
  • Be careful not to overwork the pastry as it will become chewy and generally horrible. A light touch, cold hands and as little playing around as possible makes the best shortcrust pastry.
  • Find that your filling mixture has split? Fear not! Blitz it for a minute or two in a food processor and it will bring it all back together again. Problem solved.
  • Don’t have time to make your own shortcrust pastry? Just buy some and blind bake as below! It’s all about the filling anyway and no one will ever know…

 

Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board

Butterscotch Tart Recipe

Here is what you will need to make a 20cm/8″ tart.

For the Pastry

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 125g Unsalted Butter, Cold & Cubed
  • Good pinch of Salt
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • Cold Water

 

For the Filling

  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • 175g Golden Caster Sugar
  • Plain Flour 175g
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Butterscotch Essence/Flavouring
  • 110ml Semi Skimmed Milk

 

Essential Equipment

  • 20cm/8″ Loose Bottomed Tart Tin

 

To make the pastry put the flour butter & salt into a food processor & blitz briefly until it resembles fine crumbs. (If you don’t have a processor, put the ingredients into a large bowl and rub with your fingers until you get the same result.)

Add one of the beaten eggs and a splash of cold water. Blitz again briefly until it just starts to come together to form a dough. (Or mix together with your hands.)

Butterscotch Tart pastry mixture in a food processor

Tip the dough out and gently knead together into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This is important, don’t skip it!)

Butterscotch Tart pastry in a ball

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

When chilled, place the dough between two pieces of clingfilm and roll out a circle to a thickness of 2-3mm.

Butterscotch Tart pastry rolled out between cling film

Peel off one layer of clingfilm then carefully (cling film side up) lift and drape over the tart tin. Press the pastry firmly into the base & sides. Try not to trap any air underneath.

Butterscotch Tart pastry crust in a fluted tin with cling film on top

Fold the sides down over the edge of the tin and press to “cut off” the excess.

Butterscotch Tart pastry crust in a fluted tin with cling film on top

Then remove the cling film and pierce all over with a fork.

Butterscotch Tart pastry crust in a fluted tin

Pop it into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.

Scrunch up a large sheet of baking paper (NOT greaseproof paper as that will stick) place into the tart case & fill with baking beans/rice. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins.

Take out the oven, remove the beans/baking paper. Brush the pastry all over with the 2nd beaten egg and pop back into the oven for a further 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Baked Butterscotch Tart pastry crust in a fluted tin

How to Make the Butterscotch Tart Filling

Firstly, in a very large saucepan melt the butter and sugar together over a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Butterscotch Tart: melted butter in a saucepan

Then add the flour and cook, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes.

Butterscotch Tart filling in a saucapan

Next, tip the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add in the salt, vanilla, butterscotch & milk. Beat until smooth and thick. To start with, it will feel like it won’t come together but it will.

If you’re mixture split & you’re having a hard time bringing it together, pop it into a food processor and blitz on high until smooth and thick.

Butterscotch Tart filling in a bowl

Finally, pour the filling into the cooled pastry case and allow to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to an hour. It should just hold it’s shape when cut.

Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board

With my first bite into this Butterscotch Tart, it took me straight back to my school days. I would get so excited when this was on the menu! That beautiful, soft & gooey butterscotch filling on a gorgeously golden pastry crust. Just, yes. A thousand times yes!

What was your favourite dessert at school? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time. Miss KitchenMason x

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Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board

Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board

My Recommendations For This Recipe…

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5 from 2 votes
Butterscotch Tart on a chopping board
Old School Butterscotch Tart
Prep Time
30 mins
Chill/Bake Time
2 hrs 5 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 35 mins
 

Like this recipe? Please give it a star rating x

A classic old school dessert, this Butterscotch Tart recipe will have you reminiscing in no time! A beautiful butterscotch filling in a golden pastry crust... just YUM.

Course: Dessert, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Butterscotch Tart, Butterscotch Tart Recipe, Caramel Tart Recipe, Gypsy Tart Recipe
Servings: 8 People
Author: Emma Mason | Kitchen Mason
Ingredients
For the Pastry
  • 250 g Plain Flour
  • 125 g Unsalted Butter Cold & Cubed
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Eggs Beaten
  • Cold Water
For the Butterscotch Filling
  • 175 g Unsalted Butter
  • 175 g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 175 g Plain Flour
  • Pinch of Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Butterscotch Essence/Flavouring
  • 110 ml Semi Skimmed Milk
Essential Equipment
  • 20cm/8″ Loose Bottomed Tart Tin
  • Food Processor
Instructions
To Make the Pastry
  1. Place flour, butter & salt in a food processor and pulse until like fine crumbs. Add one egg & a splash of water and pulse again until a crumbly dough forms.

  2. Bring together, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

  4. Roll out a rough circle that's wider than the base and sides of the tin to 2mm thick between two sheets of cling film. Peel off the top layer and drape over the tart tin.

  5. Gently press the pastry into the tin, press off the excess then peel off the cling film and prick all over with a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes.

  6. Scrunch up a big bit of baking paper and lay over the pastry. Fill with baking beans then bake for 15 mins.

  7. Remove the beans and baking paper, brush all over with beaten egg then bake again for 10-12 mins until golden. Set aside to cool.

To Make the Butterscotch Filling
  1. Gently melt together the butter and sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat.

  2. Add the flour then Beat continuously until it comes together. (About 3 minutes.)

  3. Take off the heat then add the salt, vanilla, butterscotch and milk. Beat vigorously until smooth. (If it just won't come together, blitz it in a food processor for a minute or two.)

  4. Pour into the cooled base and leave to set at room temperature for 30-60 mins.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature and consume within 3-4 days.

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50 thoughts on “How to Make The Best Old School Butterscotch Tart”

  1. Aileen Sivewright says:

    Having great problem finding butterscotch essence

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Aileen. Whereabouts are you based? If you are in the UK, I link to Amazon in the ingredients list where you can buy it from online. (Link here: http://amzn.to/2iPjfvK) If you are in the US, I’ve found this one which I hope will help you? https://goo.gl/1LzU5X

  2. Steve says:

    Just in case anyone is having problems, here’s the link to THE BEST butterscotch flavouring… http://www.sweetsuccess.uk.com/vshop/shopexd.asp?id=406 (thankfully I live in Nottingham, where they’re based, and I can purchase it directly from them). I’ve had the 1L bottle now for about 3 years (my bro bought it for me Christmas 2013) – went out of date 18 months ago and it’s still perfectly fine. So if you are wanting to make copious amounts of the best school pudding in the world, I’d say get the 1L bottle instead of the 28ml bottle – it lasts pretty much forever since it’s all chemicals anyway.

    Also, it’s great to use in rice pudding (mmmm, butterscotch rice pudding), cakes and buttercream.

  3. Jessica says:

    Can you post with cups an tsp an tbs not in grams or ml

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Jessica. Sorry, I’m based in the UK and we use weight instead of volume. It’s much more accurate. That’s why I use grams & ml. There are plenty of good conversion tools online that you can use though. x

  4. Ruth says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe, it worked perfectly for me. It looked and tasted exactly how I remember it from school.

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Aww you’re welcome Ruth!

  5. Joanne says:

    This is seems like an awful lot of flour in the filling. Other recipes use a much smaller ratio of flour to butter and sugar. Is the 175g by any chance a typing error?

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      It’s not a typo Joanne. It seemed to work ok for me but you could be right? I’m not sure without trying it for myself x

  6. Anjali says:

    Can I replace caster sugar with regular ones?

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Yes replacing the sugar is fine! I use caster as it’s a fine sugar and dissolves easily.

  7. Randy says:

    I can’t wait to make it.

    Miss KitchenMason, I really like your step by step instructions with all the pics. Helps so much. Thanks for taking the time, I know it can be a lot of work, doing a writeup like this, and thought you should know, that it is much appreciated.

    Though, by all the comments, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    Nice to see current comments and Holy Cow! even replies from the author.

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Thank you SO much! That’s so incredibly sweet of you to say! Especially about the step by step pictures as yes, it’s a lot more work! But totally worth it if my wonderful readers enjoy it 🙂 You’ve made my day, thanks again!

  8. Mr Barton says:

    I did the same thing almost, I used to love this desert, and then the school cook got a job opportunity at a bigger better school, my school was pretty small so we knew everybody and I was always friendly with the teachers and staff, before she left I asked her for the recipe, she adapted it into something more suitable for home and gave it to me, but like you say, life happens, things get lost, so very much looking forward to trying this one out!
    Thank you for posting

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for checking out my recipe 🙂

  9. Aly says:

    I’m so glad I found this recipe! I’m cooking for my family tonight so I’m a bit short for time on sourcing ingredients, the main ones I already have in my cupboard but I couldn’t find butterscotch essence anywhere in my supermarket. They did have a caramel one though, do you think this would be okay or will the flavour be too different?

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Aly! The flavour will be different but I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t taste just as good 🙂

  10. Emily says:

    Also, can I substitute the sugar for regular white sugar? 🙁 I’m in the US and have had the hardest time finding some of these ingredients. I used my food processor to process some golden raw sugar, but the grains didn’t get small enough, so I used the white sugar (called refined sugar, I think). I can taste the grittiness of the sugar, but maybe I didn’t dissolve it long enough? Your pics looked just like my steps, and I had no problems with separation. I let it dissolve for a quite a while – but do you have a minute number that could help me out?

    Thank you!! 🙂 🙂
    Emily

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      White sugar will be fine, I only use golden as I think it adds a very slight caramel flavour. So long as it is a fine sugar and not granulated it will be ok. (I think you call it superfine in the US?) With regards to the sugar dissolving, it’s been a while since I’ve made this but, from memory, I think it only took about 5 minutes. Basically, you shouldn’t be able to feel any scraping when you stir with a spoon. That’s when it has dissolved. I hope I’ve been able to help! Good luck 🙂

  11. Emily says:

    I’d like to travel with this pie. Should I assemble it, freeze it, and thaw it? Or, freeze the filling once it’s made, then thaw and place it in a crust?

    Thanks!
    emily

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Emily. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve never frozen it before. I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be ok being frozen assembled though, so long as it’s in an airtight container?

    2. Steve says:

      Freezing it is absolutely fine – school chef here and I make it twice a month (though we have progressed onto ‘butter essence’ now instead of ‘butterscotch flavouring’ – doesn’t taste quite as good as it did when I was a kid). I usually make several trays of this in one go, as it’s so popular – and freezing it afterwards and letting them have it as a treat the following week. It defrosts perfectly – I recommend defrosting on a cooling wire, just in case of any ice crystals, they won’t make your pastry go soggy.

  12. Emma says:

    My little girl started school in September and she sometimes has Butterscotch Tart for pudding – I’m so envious every time she comes home and tells me she had it for lunch, so I can’t wait to make this!

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hahaha I would be too! It was my fave school pudding by a country mile!

  13. Reblogged this on and commented:
    This is such a blast from the blast and it was so easy to make! Try for your self

  14. vicky says:

    you never said when to add the second egg….

    1. It’s used beaten as a glaze over the pastry later on in the recipe Vicky.

  15. Charlie says:

    Hey! Been years looking for the name of this tart because i didn’t remember when i lived in England until i had 13, now i am 27 and thanks to you i can do this tart, i wanted to ask you if i don’t use butterscotch flavoring could i do the butterscotch sauce and use it as a flavoring? 😀 thanks for the recipe 😀

    1. Hi! Glad you’re so happy you found my recipe! I’m not sure butterscotch sauce would work as well as it’s not as concentrated as extract/essence. X

      1. Charlie says:

        Thanks! 😀 you’re very kind! and well i will try it and see what happends, and thanks for the fast anwsering i apreciate it 🙂

        1. No problem at all, let me know how you get on 🙂

      2. Charlie says:

        Sure 🙂

  16. Chris Fell says:

    Exactly how I remember school dinners…. butterscotch tart to excite the taste buds. I dont know your age “KitchenMason”, but Butterscotch tart was just the same in 1964 when I was 10. I am now going to try your recipe, I’ve always loved cooking so this will be another conquest for me. Thanks.

    1. I’m 27 and it was my favourite pudding at school by a country mile! Thank you for your kind words x

  17. Jojo says:

    Tried to make old school butterscotch tart for many years and still not managed to get it right, however after searching for images for old school butterscotch tart I came across your post. I’ve literally just finished making yet another unsuccessful tart, noted you recipe and I’m going to make it this afternoon. I’ll let you know if it’s the same one we used to have with chocolate shavings on top cut into rectangles mmmm….

    1. I had a long search too – good luck! Hope you’ve found what you were looking for 🙂

    2. Zoe says:

      Was it the same one as you used to have at school? That’s how I remember it 🙂 Hoping it is!

      1. Yes Zoe it was! I actually got the basics of the recipe from a dinner lady when I was at school many moons ago 🙂

  18. sab says:

    Okay I seriously need to try this recepie! I must run to the store I have a sudden craving for butterscotch! 🙂

    1. It’s gorgeous Sab you’ll love it!

      1. sab says:

        once I get the ingredients I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

  19. huntfortheverybest says:

    oh it looks wonderful. i love custard pies!

  20. This looks and sounds divine. Yum!

    1. Thanks Gab! It was my favourite in school 🙂

  21. Sinead says:

    We never had school dinners when I was a kid, everyone just brought a packed lunch! I’ve heard lots of horror stories about them though but this looks and sounds really good 🙂

    1. Haha the horror stories are probably true! But here in the UK we had a choice, packed lunch or school dinners. And this pudding was my all time fave!

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