(This post has been updated from the original May 2014 version to provide a better experience for you)
Flaky shortcrust pastry filled with a smooth and creamy butterscotch filling – butterscotch tart is the stuff of childhood dreams! Adapted from an original dinner lady recipe, this classic school dessert will take you straight back to your childhood (just like cornflake tart and treacle tart do!). Learn how to make your very own with my nostalgic recipe, helpful tips and much more…
I loved this dessert so much in school that I used to skip dinner and have two puddings whenever it was on the menu! So on my very last day in secondary school, I actually asked a dinner lady for their butterscotch tart recipe.
She wrote it down on a scrappy little piece of paper for me. Sadly, after leaving home, the recipe got mislaid and I thought it was lost forever. Until one day, to my surprise and delight, I found it in a little box at my parent’s house!
I was so so happy! It was a little on the vague side but I was determined to fill in the gaps and share the recipe with the world. After all, I knew you’d love it as much as I did. (Being in Kitchen Mason’s top 5 recipes every day since I originally published it in 2014 proves as much!)
This old school dessert goes by many names across the United Kingdom. Butterscotch tart, caramel tart and even gypsy tart. But they were all slight variations of the very same thing and all tasted amazing! If you know of any more names for this dessert, let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s much easier than you think! You can even cheat and buy a ready made pastry case if you like. I always believe homemade is better though.
While mostly very basic, there are a few key things you need to know about some ingredients when making butterscotch tart.
For the Pastry
For the Butterscotch Filling
Here is where I get my butterscotch essence. (Affiliate link.)
Worried about making the shortcrust pastry case? There’s no need! Check out my easy shortcrust pastry recipe. It’s packed full of super helpful tips to help you nail it first time!
Still not sure or short on time? You can always buy a 20 cm / 8″ ready made pastry case from your local supermarket instead.
This is the pastry blender I use. (Affiliate link.)
Here is what you will need to make a 20cm/8″ tart.
(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)
Please note, this recipe has been updated to improve both the flavour and texture. If you would like a copy of the original recipe, please email me at email@example.com.
For the Pastry
For the Filling
Mix the flour (160g | 1 + 1/3 Cups) and salt (1/4 tsp) together in a large mixing bowl then add the cold cubed butter (85g | 1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp).
Using a pastry blender, lightly mix the ingredients together until they form lots of little crumbs. Alternatively, you can rub the ingredients together between your forefingers a thumbs (with cold hands!) until you achieve the same result.
Next, add 3 – 4 tbsp of cold water and gently bring it all together with your hands until it forms a ball. Add the water gradually – remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it out.
The dough should come together and clean the sides of the bowl but it should not be sticky at all.
Tip your pastry onto some cling film (saran wrap in the US), flatten into a disc, wrap it up and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll out your pastry to 2 mm thick on a floured work surface. Don’t be afraid to flour your rolling pin and the top of the pastry.
Then carefully lift your pastry over your tart tin and gently press it into the base and sides.
Next, roll your rolling pin over the top to cut off any excess pastry then gently prick the base all over with a fork.
Pop your prepared pastry in the freezer to chill and preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/356°F.
Now scrunch up a large sheet of baking paper and place it into your pastry tin. Fill it with baking beans. (You can use coins or dried pulses etc if you don’t have those.)
Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the baking beans and baking paper. Lightly brush the whole thing with beaten egg.
Lastly, put your pastry case back into the oven for a final 10-12 mins until golden and crispy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely while you make the butterscotch filling.
First, whisk together the milk (100ml | 1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) and flour (40g | 1/3 Cup) in a jug until smooth. Set to one side until needed.
Then add the cubed butter (175g | 3/4 Cup) and caster sugar (175g | 3/4 Cup + 1/8 Cup) to a large saucepan and set over a low/medium heat.
Stirring with a wooden spoon, heat until everything is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Now gradually pour in the milk/flour mixture a little at a time. Stir well after each addition.
Once all the milk/flour has been added, bring the mixture to the boil. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. You want a consistency that’s a bit like wallpaper paste. (It should take around 15 mins or so.)
Then remove from the heat and add the salt (pinch), vanilla (1 tsp) and butterscotch essence (1 tsp.)
Give it one last good stir to blend everything together.
Finally, pour the mixture into your pastry case and allow to set completely. I prefer to leave mine at room temperature but, especially if it’s a warm day, you might like to put yours in the fridge.
And there you have it my lovely! A seriously nostalgic and delightful butterscotch tart to call your very own. That beautiful, soft and gooey butterscotch filling on a gorgeously golden pastry crust… Just, yes. A thousand times yes!
Store your butterscotch tart in the fridge and consume within 5 days. (Although it’s at it’s best for the first 1 – 2 days.)
You need the right equipment! Check out my favourite Products That Make Baking Easier!
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Store in the fridge and consume within 5 days. (Tastes best within 2 days.)
This recipe has been updated to improve the flavour and texture. If you would like a copy of the original recipe, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.
As featured on Julia’s Simply Southern Meal Plan Monday #225