Friday, May 23, 2008

Treacle Tart

So what is Treacle Tart? It’s a very popular and traditional dessert in the UK. I only had it once when there, which, I guess, is surprising because it is so popular. Maybe because the times I’ve been there I usually make the desserts, like pies, cakes, cookies and bars. But I really liked this dessert. Very different.
An interesting fact is that Treacle Tart has become somewhat of a curiosity in other countries because of its frequent mention in the Harry Potter books. Actually, it is Harry’s favorite dessert.
Treacle Tart is made predominately of shortcrust pastry and golden syrup. It has a consistency similar to pecan pie, though it usually does not contain eggs in the filling. The Tart is normally served hot with a dollop clotted cream. (Yes, we first heard about clotted cream in the blog about scones.) It can also be served with ordinary cream, custard, or yoghurt. Treacle tart is good served cold, too.
Many think treacle is like molasses and it is often called that in the UK. Actually it is a by-product of sugar-making the same as molasses, but more similar in taste and texture to honey. However, it has a taste of its own. We brought back a bottle of Golden Syrup and I made my first Treacle Tart. The pastry base of the English recipe didn’t turn out very well for me, so next time I will use a shortcrust recipe I have which would have more shortening in it. The Golden Syrup is combined with fresh breadcrumbs, lemon juice and zest with a small amount of ginger to form the filling of the Tart. It bakes at a high temperature for about 45 minutes. In lieu of clotted cream, we used Cool Whip!
You may find Golden Syrup in the US in international food stores, and it can be purchased on the Internet so you can make the perfect Treacle Tart.

English Recipe for Treacle Tart
For the pastry:
225g/8oz plain flour
110g/4oz butter, chilled and diced
1 medium egg
For the filling:
450g/1lb golden syrup
85g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
generous pinch ground ginger
1 lemon, zest, finely grated
and 2 tbsp of the juice
1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Mix in the egg with a knife,then knead to a smooth dough..
3. Use the dough to line a 23 cm/9in loose bottomed tart tin, prick with a fork and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas
5. Bake the pastry blind for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown.
6. Mix together the filling ingredients and pour into the pastry case. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

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