Burns Night Recipe: Border Tart

This Burns night recipe comes from cheesemonger Fiona. Read on to find out what Border Tart is, and indeed how to make one!

As a resident Scot at Neal’s Yard Dairy, I was thrilled to be asked to do a recipe to celebrate Burns Night  and traditionally the wonderful combination of oatmeal, cream and fresh raspberries, namely Cranachan might have graced these pages. However, a large pot of Rosebud’s Orange and Almond mincemeat was still in my fridge from Christmas and I was inspired to put my loved leftovers and the Scottish celebration together in a alternative sweet treat.

Border Tart ingredients do vary and traditionally it is a shortcrust pastry flan filled with a mixture of dried fruit, sugar, melted butter and egg. All of which is then glossed with a white water icing to top it off. Growing up in Ayrshire it was a particular family favourite of my Scottish childhood.

This version could not be simpler. The star of the show is Rosebud’s mincemeat which is prepared by hand and tastes lovingly made. Each ingredient shines through from the Bramley apples and vine fruits to the generous measure of brandy providing sticky richness against the freshness of citrus fruits.  

The shortcrust pastry recipe was generously shared by my colleague Hadia and as she promised me it was so easy to put together. The fancy lattice work was a doddle with a lattice pastry cutter, which appeared in the post from my Mum when she realised she owned two! So even though this tart was made in London a little bit of Scotland still played its part.

Finally, I decided to adorn this version with another NYD fridge favourite, Neal’s Yard Creamery’s crème fraîche. The velvet -smooth organic double cream lightly soured with a live buttermilk culture, cuts through the rich tart and enhances it to celebration status.

So whether you raise a glass of your finest malt or pop the kettle on for a cup of tea, wish Rabbie Burns a Happy Birthday and enjoy.

Serves 6-8 


For the pastry:

225g plain flour
100g cold, diced unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of sugar.
100ml ice cold water - or just enough water to bind.

For the filling: 

Rosebud Almond & Orange Mincemeat; you will need approximately 1kg to fill a 8 inch tart tin. (We have this mincemeat available to buy in our London shops while stocks last).

To make your own filling (adapted from Sue Lawrence's book "Scottish Baking"):
150g softened butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
3 large beaten eggs
600g raisins or mixed dried fruit
Zest of two lemons
1.5 tsps. mixed spice

Icing sugar and lukewarm water mixed together to form a thick paste.

Crème fraîche to serve


Take an 8 inch tart tin.

Rub the flour and butter lightly together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. You can do this in a food processor should you wish but do not over work the mixture.

Mix in the sugar.

Add 100ml of ice cold water in stages or just just enough until the pastry forms into a ball.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins. Overnight is best.

Once chilled, divide the pastry in 2. Roll out the bottom on a lightly floured surface to approx 3 - 5 mm thickness.

Use your rolling pin to guide the pastry over the tart case. Let the pastry overhang the edges. The excess can be cut off after it is baked.

Add the mincemeat filling until it is at the very top.

If you are making your own filling gently melt the butter and sugar together in a pan. Leave to cool and then add the fruit and lemon zest. Stir in the beaten egg. Fill the tart case. 

Roll out the remainder of the dough and if using roll the lattice cutter on the dough firmly towards you. Again using the rolling pin guide the pastry over the tart, the lattice shape will form as you do so.

If you are not using a cutter, hand cut strips of pastry and arrange over the mincemeat.

Join the top and the bottom around the case with a little water.

Cook in a pre heated fan oven at 180 degrees for approximately 25 - 30 minutes. Check the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden.

Make the white water icing by adding the icing sugar in a bowl with 1 - 2 tablespoons of water until you get a drizzling consistency. if it is too runny simply add more icing sugar.

Let the tart completely cool in the tin. Once cooled remove and drizzle the tart in icing.

Once the icing has set, eat cold with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Border Tart will keep well in a air tight container in the fridge for up 4-5 days.