Treacle Tart

Children this side of the pond grow up woefully ignorant of the wonders of treacle. Our refined sugar byproducts are generally confined to molasses, and our inverted sugar usually takes the form of corn syrup. Little do American sweet teeth know that our British cousins have mastered the procurement, production, and preparation of treacle, the finest of sugar byproducts.

Anyone who's read the Harry Potter books has wondered or imagined what their ultimate treacle tart would look, smell and taste like. Americans may be familiar with the Pennsylvania Dutch shoo fly pie, which is made with molasses. Treacle tarts are similar in that they are a historically inexpensive recipe that calls for the use of the resultant byproducts of sugar production.

                        

Treacle tarts can be traced back to Ancient Greece, when honey was used to make the filling. Once the refining of sugar began to take off in 17th century, the treacle tart wrapped its sticky fingers round the heart of Britain and never let go. In my house, we love to pair this tart with vanilla ice cream and a good moscato.

Fun fact: "Treacle tart" is Cockney rhyming slang for "sweetheart."

Filling Ingredients:

  • 400g/1 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 150 mL heavy cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 11g cake crumbs
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Sweet Crust Pastry Ingredients:

  • 85g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50g confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 200g flour

To make the pastry, cream the butter in a bowl till soft. Stir in the confectioners sugar and beat till fluffy. Add egg yolk and beat till evenly combined. Pour in all the flour, and stir till just combined. Form a disk with the dough, wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

Butter a 9" tart pan, and roll out the pasty dough to 3/4". Line the tart pan with the dough, and trim the edges, leaving a bit hanging over the edge of the pan to prevent slumping. Place the fridge while preparing the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the golden syrup and our into a large bowl. Whisk in the cream and the beaten egg. Mix in the cake crumbs, ground almonds, lemon zest, and juice.

Brush the refrigerated pastry with butter, and line it with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or beans, and blind back in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and pop back int the oven for 5 minutes, or till it just starts to darken. Remove from the oven and pour the treacle filling into the pie shell. Bake for between 35 and 40 minutes or until the filling is set and the pastry edges have turned golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.