This is wonderfully good. I first tasted them in a supermarket incarnation as an alternative to Mince pies. They were addictive; buttery and sugary and fruity and spicy. They are definitely a bit unseasonal for this lovely summer we’re having, (ahem) but they remind me of licking the spoon of Christmas cake making. All those flavours, but with that raw cake mix sugar-hit too. The difference between Border Tart and Ecclefechan tart seems to be that the former has almond pastry, and the latter has walnuts in the filling. Well, I’ve gone balls-out and combined the two. A dusting of icing sugar is suggested by lots of recipes, but I felt that was a snowflake too far. Whiskey in the pastry has been suggested too, but I think its flavour would be better in the filling. Some thick cream with a splash of whisky and a pinch of sugar would be lovely alongside. When summer lets you down, embrace winter!
For the Pastry:
220g plain flour
30g ground almonds
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1 large orange (set aside the zest for the filling before you juice it)
For the Filling:
150g unsalted butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
50 caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
250g dried mixed fruit (I used raisins, currants and dried cranberries)
The zest of 2 oranges
100g chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180C
Combine the pastry ingredients, form into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Then roll out and line your tart tin. 23cm, loose-bottomed, lightly greased – you know the drill by now…
Bake in your preheated oven, lined with foil and filled with baking beans for 10 minutes.
Cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until nicely whipped, beat in the eggs, then fold in the fruit, nuts, spice and zest.
Smooth into the pastry case (you want your fruit submerged, for a smooth appearance and no scorched fruit) and bake for 25 minutes until the top is set. The tart won’t be firm until it’s cool, so don’t over-cook it in search of firmness.