I’d never heard of Treacle Tart before I encountered it in the Harry Potter books. Apparently it’s Harry’s favourite food and after tasting it for myself I can see why. You won’t need any magical powers to whip up this dessert, it’s surprisingly easy to make, even for a muggle like me.
A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you can think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding… As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
Turns out Harry must have quite the sweet tooth, because treacle tart filling is basically sweet and sticky golden syrup, with a big hit of lemon thrown in.
The sweetness isn’t too overwhelming as the tangy lemon zest and juice cuts through with a big citrus zing! Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream on the side and you have yourself a mighty fine dessert.
Luckily for me Treacle tart is quite easy to make, and with a few clever short cuts (I’m always looking for short cuts when it comes to cooking), you’ll only need 4 ingredients (well 5 if you count the egg wash).
I cheated by using pre-made shortcrust pasty sheets rather than making my own from scratch. Who has time to make pastry? If you can’t find pastry sheets, a pre-made pastry case is also fine to use.
You’ll need an extra sheet of pasty if you want to add a decorative top. I’ve kept mine simple with a simple with a stretched lattice top, but you can make yours as fancy as you like, or omit the top altogether. I think traditionally they were made without a pasty topping.
The original recipe I referenced used almost double the golden syrup I’ve included, but alas, I only had one cup on hand, so I adjusted the quantities slightly and it still turned out pretty great. My recipe uses 2 whole lemons, which makes it really zesty. If you don’t like your treacle tart super lemony, use just one, or one and a half lemons.
I’ve never heard of breadcrumbs as a filling ingredient, but it works super well to soak up all the flavours.
Emma helped me make the bread crumbs by cutting off the crusts. Bread that is 1-2 days old works best for making nice fluffy fine breadcrumbs. I just tore up the slices and whizzed them up in my mini food processor that came with my stick blender.
The shortcrust pastry sheets weren’t quite large enough to cover the whole tart tin, so I pressed 2 sheets together to get the full coverage. I’d normally blind bake a pastry case to avoid a soggy bottom, but didn’t really bother this time and it turned out fine.
The filling doesn’t look very appealing when you mix everything together, but it comes together super easily. You’ll need to warm the syrup till it’s thin so everything can combine properly. Make sure it doesn’t boil.
Pour the filling into the case and put it straight into a hot oven. If you leave it sitting around I suspect the pastry may get soggy.
Add your decorative topping about 20 minutes into the baking so it doesn’t sink into the filling. I cut my lattice top by hand, but you can also buy a fancy cutting roller that makes the job super quick.
Now it’s time to enjoy with a big dollop of cream! Tastes best warm, but it’s also good cold. I must admit I had a few leftover pieces for breakfast. Not the healthiest option but I can’t let a good treacle tart go to waste now can I?
- 2 sheets of frozen ready made shortcrust pastry + 1 extra sheet if decorating top
- 2 lemons - juice and rind
- 250ml (1 cup) Golden Syrup
- 140g (4.9oz) fresh white breadcrumbs (about 10-12 day old crust free bread slices)
- 1 egg as egg wash (optional)
Defrost frozen shortcrust pastry in the fridge for a couple of hours or if time is short, at room temperature. If it gets too soft at room temperature, pop it in the fridge to firm up a little.
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