Thommie’s Quick Tart

10:45 am on 13 February 2009

From The Kindness of Strangers by Shonagh Koea, published by Vintage, ISBN: 9781869419189


  • two tablespoons of butter
  • two tablespoons of sugar
  • one level cup of flour
  • two teaspoons of baking powder
  • half a cup of chopped dates or dried fruit of any sort
  • four tablespoons of milk


Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the dry ingredients and add the dried fruit. Mix with milk and put on a greased pie plate in a fast oven (about 180 degrees Celsius) for ten minutes. Serve hot with custard or cream.

That is exactly what Mrs Thoms gave me. I sometimes add an egg after I have creamed the butter and sugar and this gives a slightly richer, less biscuity texture. Sometimes I double the recipe and put in two eggs and a cup of dried fruit of any sort and it will seem a bit like a light fruit-cake, but is best eaten quickly. I like almonds so I sometimes add some almond essence to this pseudo-fruit-cake.

It is nicest the day after you make it, or the day after that. And sometimes I have stirred in chopped apple instead of the dried fruit and had it masquerading as Apple Gâteau, in which case some lemon zest added to the mixture is also nice.

The basic recipe comes out best if it is baked in an old-fashioned pie plate, but if you double the recipe you will need a bigger tin. I use an ordinary round cake tin and I line it with baking paper.

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