Treacle tart has never interested me. I’ve always thought it was sickly, cloying and designed for children. Until I spent a week at Ashburton Cookery School. We made an insane amount of cakes, bread and patisserie. Its funny how much you can make when someone else is doing the weighing, measuring and washing up at the end….! One of the mornings we made a treacle tart for lunchtime pudding, and I was adamant I wasn’t going to like it.
There I was spoon in hand ready to be disappointed and bereft of pudding when low and behold, it was actually a delight! The texture was more cakey than I was expecting and the zing of lemon zest cut right through the golden syrup, ensuring it wasn’t cloyingly sweet like i’d envisioned. Sometimes its the simplest of desserts that can really captivate and remind you of home. The buttery pastry and sweet smell of golden syrup really reminds me of being a child hovering around my mum in the kitchen.
I made my classic shortcrust pastry for the tart rather than a sweet pastry. I always prefer shortcrust to cut down the sweetness (especially with a treacle tart!) and it holds up really well in the oven with hardly any shrinkage. Though the real key to that is making sure you chill the pastry well in the fridge before blind baking.
Ashamed as I am to admit it, I had no clue that breadcrumbs were a vital part of a treacle tart! Anyone else?! They provide the sticky and stodgy texture that is so familiar, but in this recipe the quantity of breadcrumbs is halved to make room for ground almonds. They keep the tart really moist and add the cakey texture that I like so much. Finally the lemon zest adds a really interesting citrusy tang that cuts right through the sweetness, finishing the tart off perfectly.
Treacle tart is perfect for pudding after a Sunday roast, especially in Autumn now its getting colder. The tart is best served warm on the same day as baking, and as it only takes 20 minutes in the oven it can be popped in as soon as your roast is out!
Let me know if treacle tart reminds you of fond childhood memories, and if you weren’t a fan then I promise you will be now!