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27 Aug 2019

Great bakes from around the Trust

A rhubarb and custard tart sits on a white plate, with a slice cut from it sitting on a smaller plate in the foreground. A cup of tea stands beside the main tart.
Pitmedden’s Rhubarb and Custard crumb tart
To celebrate Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (running from 31 August–15 September) and the return of the Great British Bake Off 2019, we’re sharing some traditional Scottish recipes from our places.

Pitmedden’s Rhubarb and Custard Crumb Tart

The team at Pitmedden Garden aim to use as much fresh produce from their kitchen garden as possible, so when fresh rhubarb is in abundance this tart is a real favourite with visitors.


• 350g rhubarb

• 100g golden caster sugar

• 3 tbsp water

• 350g sweet shortcrust pastry

• 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 1 tbsp plain flour

• 280ml single cream


• 50g melted butter

• 50g demerara sugar

• 50g porridge oats

• ½ tsp ground ginger


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Wash the rhubarb and cut into chunks. Place in a pan with half the caster sugar and the water. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Tip into a bowl with the juices.

3. Roll out the pastry thinly and line a deep tin with it. Bake blind for 20 minutes.

4. Mix together the egg and egg yolk, vanilla extract, remaining caster sugar and the flour before slowly whisking in the cream with the cooled rhubarb juices.

5. Spoon the rhubarb into the pastry case and pour on the cream mixture. Turn the heat up to 200ºC and bake for 20 minutes, until the custard is lightly set.

6. Combine the topping ingredients and spoon over the pie. Return to the oven for 15 minutes until golden.

7. Serve warm with ice cream.

A Victoria sponge sits on a red plate, with raspberries on the side. A cup and saucer stand in the background.
Victoria sponge

Culzean’s Victoria Sponge

Filled with lashings of cream and jam made from the fruits and berries grown in Culzean Castle’s walled garden – painstakingly cared for by gardeners throughout the year – this cake goes down a storm in our beautiful tearooms.


For the cake

• 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

• 200g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

• 200g self-raising flour

• 4 medium eggs

• 1tsp vanilla extract


• 6tbsp strawberry jam (homemade is even better!)

• 250ml double cream, whipped


• Some icing sugar for dusting

• Strawberries to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with a little butter, then line the bottoms with a circle of baking paper.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. The finished mixture should fall off a spoon easily.
  3. Divide between the tins, smoothing the surface, then place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes.
  4. The cakes are done when they’re golden brown and coming away from the sides of the tin. Press gently to check – they should feel springy. Set aside to cool in their tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  5. To assemble, place one cake upside down on a plate and spread it with plenty of jam (and whipped cream). Place the second cake on top, top-side up.
  6. Dust with icing sugar and sliced strawberries.
A tower of round shortbread biscuits, resting on some baking paper. An egg box with broken eggs stands in the background.
Some shortbread we easily recognise!

Culloden’s Shortbread

At the time of the Battle of Culloden, shortbread was rather different from the shortbread we enjoy today. This is because it was a yeast-raised bread enriched with butter in the 18th century. By the mid-19th century, the use of yeast in shortbread recipes was abandoned and the addition of fruits and almonds was reduced, resulting in roughly what we see today. Give this 18th-century shortbread recipe a try if you’re feeling adventurous!


  • 1 peck of flour
  • 4lb butter
  • 1 mutchkin of yeast
  • 1lb sugar
  • Citron, orange peel and almonds to taste
  • White carvy for topping


Take a Peck of flour, and four pounds of butter English, or three pounds Scots weight; put the butter on to come a-boil; make a hole in the flour, and pour the boiling butter in it; work the flour and butter a little while together; pour in a mutchkin of good yeast amongst the paste; work it together, but not too much; divide the paste, and roll it out oval; then cut through the middle, and plait it at the ends; keep out a little of the flour to work out the bread; flour gray paper, and fire the bread on it: if you make it sweet, allow a pound of sugar to the peck of flour at least; if you want it very rich, put in citron, orange-peel, and almonds, strew white carvy on the top; be sure to mix the sugar and the fruit with the flour before you wet it; remember to prick it well on top. Fire it on paper, dusted with flour, in a moderate oven.

You might need some modern-day definitions to help you with this one! (You might also want to reduce the quantities!)

  • A peck of flour is 8 quarts (or 16 dry pints).
  • A mutchkin is a quarter of an old Scottish pint or three quarters of an imperial pint (about 0.43 litres).
  • White carvy = caraway seeds
  • Scottish measures were often different to English measures until the mid-19th century.
  • During the 18th century these yeast-raised breads were common throughout the British Isles. In Scotland they were called ‘Short Bread’ since they were so short due to the large amounts of butter used. However, in England very similar enriched breads were made called ‘Seed Cake’.
A plate of haggis, neeps and tatties, with whisky sauce poured over the top.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum’s Whisky Sauce

The perfect accompaniment to the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties, this sauce is easy to make and adds an extra Scottish twist to the dish!


  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 50g butter
  • Olive oil
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 50g cornflour
  • 100ml whisky
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1tbsp wholegrain mustard


  1. Sweat off the onion with butter and a splash of olive oil.
  2. Add mustard, whisky and the vegetable stock.
  3. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat and add the beef stock cube and cornflour to thicken.
  4. Once thickened, blend to a sauce consistency.
  5. Pour over your haggis, and enjoy!