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The Old-School Butterscotch Tart

Evie Sparkes is a published novelist, writer and digital media director from Bath in the UK. She delights in good old-fashioned desserts.


Vintage Delight in Modern Restaurant . . . Gone

I am sure there is another restaurant in Bath that serves the good old-fashioned butterscotch tart, but I've never managed to find it. I guess it's too old fashioned these days. I wish chefs would realise that a pudding should be a pudding—and not something beautiful on a plate, surrounded by leaves, smatterings of sauce and a teeny, tiny dab of cream.

My husband and I did find such a restaurant a few years ago. We truly only went there for that dessert. It was really popular, too. I'm not sure why they ditched it in the end. I should have asked them and told them if they didn't put it back, then I'd never come back for their other offerings ever, ever again.

Vintage Is Very Now, You Know

It's all about the old, stuff the new! As we get a bit older we start to remember things differently. We crave the things we used to find perfectly average. Now we think everything back in the day was bigger and better. Well, the bigger part might actually be based in fact. I know we're constantly told that chocolate bars haven't really become smaller—it's our memories that are all skewed—but I think they have.

When I decided to make my very own version of this classic old-school dinner recipe, I decided to make it super quick and easy. One thing is for sure these days: we definitely have way less time on our hands than we used to. I have no patience when it comes to waiting for stuff. I want to get it all done in double-quick time. That's why I could never make bread. There's just too much waiting and kneading before you can even begin to think about putting it in the oven and then actually eating it.

I'm not sure what it is about butterscotch. There's just something so homely and comforting about it. A bit like Jessica Fletcher, I suppose. It's a good old-fashioned pudding without the frills and nonsense gravel and grit, or whatever they call that stuff they scatter over their posh plates to make it seem as if it's actually worth the money.

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Old-School Butterscotch Tart Recipe


  • 35 grams plain flour
  • 175 grams unsalted butter
  • 175 grams soft brown sugar
  • 100 millilitres milk


  • 1 large round sweet pastry case. I often buy the smaller ones from Sainsbury's as they are almost bite-sized and I don't feel quite so bad eating a few of these even though it's probably equivalent of a slice on the larger case!


  1. Heat the butter slowly and the majority of the milk until melted. Next, add the sugar and the remaining milk. Stir slowly until all of the mixture has come together. Don't be tempted to turn the heat up, as you will suffer a catastrophic failure. It will curdle and end up looking like a mass of lumpy glue in the bottom of the pan, not to mention the fact that it will be really tough to scrub it off.
  2. Slowly add the sifted flour a bit at a time. I use a hand whisk for this.
  3. Leave it on low heat and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Take it off the heat and let it cool right down before you do anything with it.
  5. Now you can pour it into your pastry case!
  6. Serve with custard for maximum old-school effect.

This Recipe Is a Keeper

Once you have tried this recipe, you won't look back if you are a fan of real authentic puddings. I thought that when I made it I'd be disappointed because it would probably be nothing even close to the real thing, but I was wrong.

You may have to close your mind to the fat content due to the fact that you'd probably overload your brain with thoughts of an untimely demise. The yummy factor outweighs the thought of imminent collapse—and you sort of think it would be okay, anyway, because you'd die very happy.

Good luck on your culinary journey into the past. I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think. Are there any old-school dishes you'd like to recreate?

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