There was a time not long ago, when the majority of the world may not have known of the glory that is Treacle Tart. They might have even relegated it to that group of foods that people used to eat, but that now seem gross and impossible, like say, any of these.
I can’t blame them for it! A tart filled with breadcrumbs doused in golden syrup? It doesn’t sound great on first reading, does it?
But, then, along came Harry Potter and BOOM, Treacle Tart shoots to the top of the British Culinary dessert canon.
OK, that was an exaggeration, it’s still not setting the world on fire, but as it’s Harry’s favourite dessert, it’s certainly got a lot more notoriety than it did before.
And I’m here to tell you that’s justified. Why? Because, first and foremost it is delicious. Golden Syrup is manna from heaven, and if you don’t believe me it’s because you haven’t eaten enough of it. It makes this delicious tart chewy, caramel-scented, and wreathed about with old-fashioned warmth.
In order to up the stakes a little, I couldn’t help adding a few tweaks. I browned the butter in the filling, to enhance the buttered-toast flavours that were already present. I increased the lemon to add some sharpness and to cut through the very sweet syrup, and I infused a little rosemary in the filling, to add a savoury, aromatic addition to the mix.
I also swapped out some of the breadcrumbs for ground almonds, because I just like the texture that they bring – a little less spongy and a little more fudgy. All in all, this is a hell-sophisticated dessert. This is the kind of thing that makes people think you have serious pastry chops. It’s heirloom, it’s salty-sweet, it’s got savoury herbs in it, heck the butter’s been browned!
But more than anything, it’s a totally delicious pudding (that’s British for dessert). Nice one, Harry Potter.
- 1 cup (150g) plain flour
- ¾ stick (75g) butter
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- ¼ stick (25g) butter
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- ⅔ cup + 1tbsp (340g) Lyle's Golden Syrup
- 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 + ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs (wholemeal or white)(there is no weight measure here because the weight of different breads will vary. The volume is key)
- ⅔ cup (70g) almond meal
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 375F/180C and grease a shallow 9½ inch/23 cm cake tin, tart tin or pie dish.
- To make the base, work the butter into the flour using either your fingers, a food processor or a stand mixer. Once the butter and flour look like sandy crumbs, gradually add just enough ice water to bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
- Press the dough evenly into the base of your baking dish, and place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.
- While the base is cooking, make the filling by placing the butter into a medium saucepan (one that is big enough to hold all the filling ingredients).
- Heat the butter over a low heat, until it foams, and begins to turn brown.
- Quickly add the lemon juice to the mixture to stop it from burning, and then add the remaining ingredients, except the egg, to the pan.
- Stir everything together gently over a low heat until everything is melted, and cohesive.
- When the base is cooked, remove it from the oven, and set it aside. Stir the egg into the filling mixture, and then pour the filling onto the base, and place back in the oven (on a baking sheet, in case of drips) for a further 20 minutes.
- When cooked, the tart should be golden brown and set, with a slight jiggle in the middle. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes, before slicing and serving from the tin - preferably with creme fraiche or ice cream or best of all, clotted cream!