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Butterscotch Tart

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Creamy, rich and decadent, each bite of this butterscotch tart is divine! Sweet and buttery, melt-in-your-mouth filling sits in a cookie-like shortbread pastry for an epic dessert that is one small slice of sweet nostalgia!

A slice of butterscotch tart with a cup of coffee in the background.

This Butterscotch Tart is:

  • Sweet with deep, caramel notes from the brown sugar and butter
  • Extra creamy
  • Rich- one slice will satisfy any sweet craving!
  • Simple to make

Oh, what’s not to love about butterscotch? This old-school favorite is just as delicious as its caramel and toffee cousins because anything with butter and sugar as the base is, without fail, flavor perfection.

But what makes this butterscotch tart really, really good is the brown sugar and splash of Scotch (the alcohol is optional, but definitely recommended).

Pour that silky sweet goodness into a shortbread crust, chill, and top it with a pretty piping of whipped cream for a lovely and luscious tart that will surely impress!

If you like this dessert you will like our peanut butter tart or our chocolate mint tart.

A whole butterscotch tart with whipped cream garnish.

How to Make a Butterscotch Tart:

This recipe uses our easy shortbread pastry, a press-in crust that is simple to make! The shortbread is a sweetened, butter-based pastry that all comes together easily in a food processor.

We recommend preparing the pastry crust ahead of time so that it is completely cooled when it’s time to pour in the butterscotch filling.

Ingredients for Butterscotch Tart:

  • 11-inch baked shortbread pastry shell
  • Evaporated milk
  • Cornstarch
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar (did you know that brown sugar is what makes butterscotch different from caramel, which uses white sugar?)
  • Salt
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Scotch whisky or Bourbon (optional but highly recommended)
  • Vanilla extract (for both the tart and the whipped cream topping)
  • Heavy cream, chilled
  • Powdered sugar
Ingredients needed to make a butterscotch tart.

Our Butterscotch Tart Recipe:

With the pastry shell ready to go, our butterscotch tart is an easy peasy recipe that only takes 15 minutes!

For the full process, scroll down to the bottom of the page to check out all the details and our recipe notes. It only requires a few steps and make sure to leave yourself an ample amount of time for allowing the tart to set.

  1. Make the pastry shell: Follow our easy pastry recipe and allow the shell to cool. Keep the tart on a baking sheet to make it easy to move.
  2. Combine the cornstarch and milk: In a small dish, stir together the cornstarch and a splash of the evaporated milk until the cornstarch dissolves. Whisk while pouring in the rest of the milk, then set aside.
  3. Prepare the butterscotch filling: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter, brown sugar and salt, letting the mixture come to a boil. Cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly (it will bubble up but pour it slow). Simmer for 2 minutes, continuing to stir. Remove from the heat and add the butterscotch chips, stirring until they’re completely melted. Stir in the whiskey and vanilla.
  4. Chill the butterscotch tart: Pour the mixture into the shortbread crust and place it in the fridge. Chill for 6-8 hours or until the butterscotch tart is set.
  5. Top with whipped cream: Chill a mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, then add the cold cream to the bowl, along with the sugar and vanilla. Whip on high speed with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Pipe it onto the tart as desired, or serve the tart with the whipped cream.
Collage of six photos showing how to make a butterscotch tart.

Tips for the Best Butterscotch Tart:

  • When pouring the milk mixture into the hot butter mixture, the liquid will sizzle and bubble up toward the top of the pan. Make sure to continue whisking and pour in the milk very slowly so that the butterscotch does not overflow.
  • Make the whipped cream just before serving so it is fresh and fluffy!
  • Store the butterscotch tart at room temperature (without whipped cream) for 5 to 7 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days. The tart is best when served at room temperature.
  • Run a sharp knife under hot water before slicing the tart. The hot knife will make clean cuts in the tart.
  • Put the tart pan on a baking sheet. Since the tart pan has a removable bottom, the baking sheet will make it easier (and safer) to transport your tart pan.
Three slices of butterscotch tart on plates.

A slice (or two) of this butterscotch tart is a fantastic way to finish off a delicious meal. Each creamy, buttery bite is melt-in-your-mouth goodness to savor!

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SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:

  • Chocolate Caramel Tart: Talk about a decadent treat! This chocolate caramel tart is a combination of gooey caramel and a rich truffle filling, topped with ganache and flakey sea salt. Yum!
  • Chocolate Amaretto Mousse: This light and fluffy mousse has a hint of almond flavor and a smooth, chocolate-y creaminess that’s sure to be a hit! It’s a recipe that calls for a special occasion all on its own.
  • Brown Butter Blondies: The BEST way to enjoy blondies- with brown butter! The deep, butterscotch flavor and nutty brown butter is seriously delicious!

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A slice of butterscotch tart on a white dessert plate.

Butterscotch Tart

Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A creamy, decadent butterscotch filling goes into a cookie-like shortbread pastry. This is a rich dessert and a small slice goes a long way. The Scotch whiskey is optional but highly recommended for the ultimate butterscotch flavor.

Ingredients

  • 11-inch baked shortbread pastry shell
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup butter (12 tablespoons)
  • 1-1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 tablespoons Scotch whisky or Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. See the recipe for the shortbread pastry. Bake the pastry in an 11-inch tart pan and let it cool. Keep the tart pan on a baking sheet to make it easy to move.
  2. Place the cornstarch in a small dish and stir in a splash of the evaporated milk until the cornstarch dissolves and there are no lumps. Pour in the rest of the milk while whisking and set aside.
  3. Place the butter, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. After the butter melts, let the mixture come to a boil and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. 
  4. Give the milk/cornstarch mixture a quick stir then slowly pour it into the sugar mixture, whisking constantly. The mixture will bubble up toward the top of the saucepan but if you pour the milk slowly, it won’t overflow.  Simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butterscotch chips. Stir the butterscotch chips with a whisk until they are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. 
  6. Stir in the whiskey (if using), and vanilla extract. 
  7. Pour into the shortbread crust and place in the fridge for 6 to 8 hours to set up completely. 

Make the whipped cream topping

  1. Chill a mixing bowl in the freezer for 3 to 5 minutes then add the cold cream to the bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla.
  2. Whip on high speed with a whisk attachment until you see soft peaks form.
  3. Serve the butterscotch tart with the whipped cream.

Notes

  • Store (without whipped cream) at room temperature for 5 to 7 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days. Make sure you bring it to room temperature before serving.
  • Make the whipped cream just before serving so it is fresh and does not deflate.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 154mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 0gSugar: 52gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 17th of March 2021

Wow, this looks wonderful! Love butterscotch, but don't think I've ever had it with Scotch added. But that sounds SO good -- terrific idea. And terrific recipe -- thanks.

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 17th of March 2021

Thanks, I think this one will suit you well ;)

angiesrecipes

Monday 15th of March 2021

It's too dangerous to keep this around me. Buttery crust with rich creamy butterscotch filling...just heavenly! angiesrecipes http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com

Dahn Boquist

Monday 15th of March 2021

It is definitely a rich dessert LOL.

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