This super easy recipe for Butterscotch Tart will transport you straight back to the 80s. This is my old dinner lady's very own retro recipe! The shortcrust pastry shell is filled to the brim with a deep caramel flavoured butterscotch - an authentic blast from the past.
You know I have a lot of love for Old School Puddings. In fact, some of my most highly requested recipes like School Cake and Cornflake Tart have led to you asking when there will be a recipe for Butterscotch Tart...and here it is!
As you might already know from all my other nostalgic recipes, I'm still in touch with my childhood friend, Sally, whose mum was our dinner lady back in 1986!
I'm the proud owner of a photocopied version of a school dinner recipe book that is now 34 years old. The dessert recipes are absolute gold and really take me back to my childhood.
And who wouldn't want to relive those carefree days? There's something so homely and comforting about being reminded of all the yummy puddings we used to have at school. Making them is a brilliant way of showing our kids what it was like "in our day".
So, Butterscotch Tart should be fairly well known if you had school dinners in the 60s, 70s or 80s. It has a shortcrust pastry base that is filled with butterscotch sauce and left to set.
You might have had it served with custard or perhaps mock cream. Sometimes people describe Butterscotch Tart as Gypsy Tart but they're actually quite different.
A butterscotch Tart has the consistency of a smooth-set caramel filling whereas Gypsy Tart is much lighter and more mousse-like.
What does butterscotch taste like?
Due to the brown sugar content, Butterscotch tastes a bit like caramel, but the flavour is deeper, warmer, and slightly stickier.
This recipe does not include butterscotch essence because I personally don't feel it needs any extra butterscotch flavouring. They would definitely not have added butterscotch essence in the old school days!
This is supposed to be an affordable pud and adding the cost of a bottle of butterscotch essence that you might only use once doesn't feel right to me.
By all means, if you have any butterscotch essence in the back of your kitchen cupboard then add a teaspoon but I don't think you need it!
Homemade shortcrust pastry versus shop bought
As there are very good ready-made shortcrust pastry cases available to buy you can totally cheat this dessert! However, if you'd like to make your own shortcrust pastry as I did for my easy Lemon Tart, the recipe is below.
Shortcrust pastry ingredients
- 200g plain flour
- 100g cold butter, diced
- 2 tbsp cold water
How to make shortcrust pastry
- Put the flour into a mixing bowl and add the diced butter. Rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Gradually add the cold water, mixing it in with a butter knife. Use your hands to lightly knead the dough then turn it out onto a floured surface.
- Roll out the dough until it's slightly larger than your tin then using the rolling pin transfer it into the tin. Press into the edges of the tin leaving a slight overlap to account for any shrinkage in the pastry. Put the tin into the fridge and chill the pastry for 1 hour.
- Once chilled, add a circle of baking paper on top of the pastry and fill it with baking beans or uncooked rice.
- Bake at 200ºC for 20 minutes. When the pastry has baked you can trim any excess from the edges and proceed to make the Butterscotch filling (see the recipe card at the bottom of the page).
I hope you love making and eating this Butterscotch Tart as much as I did. It's such an old favourite of mine and I'm delighted to share the classic old school recipe with you!
Let me know in the comments which pudding you'd like to see next :)
More Old School Puddings you'll love
- Chocolate Concrete
- Jam and Coconut Sponge
- Manchester Tart
- Apple Crumble
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Victoria Sponge
- Tottenham Cake
- Mars Bar Slice
Butterscotch Tart Old School Recipe
This super easy recipe for Butterscotch Tart will transport you straight back to the 80s. This is my old dinner lady's very own retro recipe!
- Shop-bought Shortcrust pastry case
- 180g (¾ cup) unsalted butter
- 100ml (¼ cup) milk (semi-skimmed or whole is fine)
- 180g (¾ cup) light brown soft sugar
- 40g (¼ cup) plain flour
- Add the butter and milk into a large saucepan and place over low heat until the butter has melted.
- Add the sugar and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Turn the heat up to medium and sieve the flour straight into the mixture and whisk well to ensure there are no lumps.
- Heat for a further minute, whisking until the mixture thickens.
- Leave to cool for a couple of minutes and then pour the butterscotch into the shortcrust pastry case. Use the back of a spoon to level the mixture. Put the Butterscotch Tart into the fridge to cool and set, this will take about an hour.
See blog post for homemade shortcrust pastry recipe or cheat and use a shop-bought one!
You can add 1 teaspoon of butterscotch essence at the same time as adding the sugar if you wish.
If the mixture splits just beat it really well with a wooden spoon and it should come together again.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 109Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 48mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g
Loved looking through these old recipes, really took me back.
Do you have a recipe book for old school puddings?
Hi can I use skimmed milk please?
I was a school cook for twenty years and we definitely used butterscotch essence every time I made made butterscotch tart
Where's the "mouse droppings" (chocolate sprinkles by any other name lol) My favourite school dessert in the 70s!