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Vegan Scottish border tart is based on a yummy afternoon or teatime bake that is served in bakeries and tearooms throughout Scotland but especially common in the border area.
This vegan recipe features traditional mixed dried fruit, walnuts, flaked almonds, and cherries brought together with a flax-egg, and baked within a sweet, crisp shortcrust pastry shell. Before being drizzled with a water icing, sprinkled with lemon zest and finished with a scattering of toasted almonds. So delicious and easy to prepare.
Scottish Border tart is the perfect mince pie alternative for the festive season. This tart is also excellent as part of a New Years/Hogmanay spread or buffet. Growing up in Scotland It is traditional to have a wee buffet of yummy Scottish treats to enjoy in the lead up to the bells ringing in the New Year.
Having a Robert Burns Day meal? Serve up some slices of Scottish border tart for an authentic dessert.
The Scottish borders are the towns and villages that are adjacent to the England-Scottish border line.
The borders are a lovely area to visit with stunning lochs, hills and crammed with history from old forts, abbeys, castles, grand estates, posh houses to visit and battlegrounds of old.
And lots of yummy traditional food that I would love to recreate using plant-based goodness.
But then I am biased on account of being Scottish.
Origin of the Scottish Border Tart
Tarts are essentially an open pie with filling added to or baked within the pastry shell.
The border tart is also known as an Eyemouth tart as it is claimed that this coastal town is where the Border tart was born.
Pies and tarts have been common since at least medieval Britain so the Border tart that is popular today likely evolved from a medieval fruit or mince pie.
Medieval mince pies were different from todays festive mince pies, as back then meat was mixed with fruits such as dried figs, raisins, and sweetened by honey. And the pastry shell was termed a coffin!
Vegan Scottish Border Tart
- Flan or pie tray either a circle size 7-9 inch diameter or rectangular around 13 x 4 in rectangular flan dish
- Mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Small fry pan, optional for toasting flaked almonds
- 200 grams plain flour Sieved. All-purpose flour.
- 100 grams vegan margarine
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water or enough to bring into a pastry ball.
- 50 g light brown sugar Or dark brown sugar/caster/granulated.
- 50 g plant-based margarine
- 130 g dried fruit I use a dried fruit mix. Alternatively use any combination of dried fruit but dice up larger pieces such as apricots.
- 60 g glace cherries Quartered.
- 40 g walnuts Rough chopped.
- 30 g flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp plant-based milk
Flax-egg for filling:
- 1 tbsp flax meal Otherwise known as ground or milled flax seeds.
- 3 tbsp water
- 100 grams icing sugar confectioners/powdered sugar.
- 1-2 tbsp water
Garnish for topping:
- 1 rind lemon grated/zested.
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds optional. For scattering over finished tart. Check the recipe notes for tips on toasting the almonds.
- Preheat oven to 170 Fan/180 Celsius/ 375 Fahrenheit/Gas 5. Grease the flan dish with a small amount of vegan margarine.
- Prepare the flax egg by mixing 1 tbsp of flax meal with 3 tbsp of cold water, Set aside until required or for at least 10 minutes.
Prepare the pasty
- Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix.
- Rub in the margarine until mix resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add between 2-3 tbsp of water a little at a time. Just enough water to bring the mix into a pastry dough, that is not sticky. Just sprinkle more flour and knead gently if its too sticky. Gently knead the pastry into a ball.
- Rest the pastry in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.You don't need to cover the pastry, unless you are preparing the pastry a few hours in advance. If so wrap the pastry with some greaseproof paper or a clean tea towel or muslin.
Prepare the tart filling:
- While the pastry is in the fridge whip the sugar and margarine together in a mixing bowl until creamy. A wooden spoon does the job fine.
- Add the flax egg to the creamed mix.Whisk with a fork till until well combined. Add the plant milk and mix.Don't worry if the mix looks split or curdled. It will be fine once baked.
- Add the mixed dried fruit, glace cherries, almonds and walnuts. Mix well.
Build and assemble the tart:
- Remove the pastry from the fridge. Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the pastry to about 1/2 cm.
- To pick up your pastry: wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and lift up the pasty and gently drop into your flan tin.
- Press down into the sides of your tart pan.
- Trim the edges with a small knife.
- Add the filling and spread out the top to a neat layer.
- Place in the middle shelf of the oven, or the shelf below the middle one. As if the tart is too close to the top of the oven the dried fruit can burn.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden. The exact time will depend on your oven. Check after 20 minutes. If the filling is browning too quick just turn your oven down to the next setting.
- Leave in the tin until cool before turning out onto a cutting board to decorate.
Toast the garnish almond flakes (optional can just use ready-toasted or plain)
- Toast the almonds by dry-frying in a small non-stick pan over a medium heat until almonds are beginning to turn golden. Shake and stir the almonds often to prevent burning. Once the almonds begin to colour remove from the heat and shake/stir the almonds as they will continue to brown in the residual heat.
- Tip out of the pan onto a small plate and leave until required for the topping.
Prepare the icing:
- Place the icing sugar in a mixing bowl.Add 1-2 tbsp of water to the icing sugar to create a drizzling consistency. Don't add too much water at once as it will become too runny. If this happens just add more sieved icing sugar and mix until the correct thickness.
- Using a spoon drizzle the icing sugar over the tart. Sprinkle the lemon zest over.And toss the toasted almond flakes over.
- Leave the icing to set before slicing into 8 slices. Place in the refrigerator if you need it to set quicker.
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not an exact calculation for your dish as ingredients vary and the data is from computerized apps.
- Border tart will keep fresh, in a covered container and in a cool, dry place, for up to 4-5 days. Its best kept in the refrigerator, but is fine on the countertop in a sealed container for a few days.
- Border tart can be frozen, wrapped well in food-grade wrap for up to 4-6 months. If freezing in slices place a piece of parchment between each slice so that a portion can be removed easily.
- This tart is ideal during the festive season, New Years Eve buffets and parties, as a mince pie alternative.