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!
- 225 g plain flour
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 120 g unsalted butter diced and chilled
- 2 tbsp ice-cold water
- 250 ml golden syrup
- 125 ml double cream
- 1.25 large eggs
- 1 lemon
- 50 g ground almonds
- 75 g fresh breadcrumbs
- For the pastry: Mix the flour, caster sugar and salt together into a bowl. Add the diced butter, rubbing in with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water 1tbsp at a time until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured worktop, and knead until it comes together to form a uniform dough. Don't handle it too much. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once chilled, roll the pastry out on a floured work surface into a rectangle about 2-3mm thick. Line the tin with the pastry and then pop back in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm. Then pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.
- Once the pastry is firm, line it with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Then bake for 20 minutes.
- For the filling: Whilst the pastry is baking, place the golden syrup in a pan and gently warm. In a separate bowl mix the cream, eggs and grated lemon zest, then add the warm golden syrup (make sure its not too hot or it will cook the eggs).
- In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and ground almonds together and then make a well in the centre. Pour the golden syrup mixture into the well and mix until smooth.
- Once the pastry is baked, remove from the oven and remove the beans and baking paper. Then return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until the pastry is dry.
- Fill the baked pastry case with the treacle mixture and then bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is just set. Serve warm.