Saturday, 8 February 2014

Treacle Tart

I might as well hold up my hands and declare straight away that this is a very sweet tart, but provided you get the balance right with the added lemon juice and lemon zest, it should have a slight bitter edge to it. This coupled with the moist, almost slightly chewy nature of the tart filling, makes it something which is irresistible.

Although called treacle tart, modern recipes do not actually use treacle but use golden syrup instead. Sometimes, to ring the changes I replace a tablespoon of the golden syrup with some black treacle which results in a tart that is darker in colour and with a richer almost malty flavour.
 
Some versions of this tart are shallower than the one that I present here, but I prefer a tart with a slightly deeper filling as I think that the pastry to filling ratio is more balanced. As usual I am not going to be dogmatic about this and ultimately I recommend that you bake the tart as you best like it.

I have used white breadcrumbs here, but I have also made versions using brown breadcrumbs. I find that breadcrumbs made from brown soda bread work extremely well and add a welcome nutty flavour and given that soda bread is almost the national bread of Ireland, it is something that I like to do when I have some soda bread hanging around.

Ingredients:

Pastry:
200g plain flour
1tblsp icing sugar
120g butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg yolk
1-2tblsp water
Filling:
450g golden syrup
½ tsp ground ginger
110g fresh breadcrumbs
1 large free-range egg, lightly whisked
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3tblsp lemon juice

Method:

Pastry:
1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Rub in the diced butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and sprinkle in the water and using a fork, or your hands mix until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work-surface and knead briefly and shape into a ball. Wrap the dough in cling-film and place in the fridge for about half an hour to rest.
Blind-bake pastry:
3. Preheat oven to 190C/Fan Oven 170C/Gas Mark 5. Grease a 5cm deep, 20cm round fluted tart tin (with a removable base) with a little butter. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry dough in a circle large enough to fit into the prepared tart tin and to a thickness of about 4mm. Use to line the bottom and sides of the prepared tin. Cover the pastry with a sheet of crumple non-stick baking parchment and then fill with baking beans. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and baking beans and then bake for a further 5 minutes. Any pastry off-cuts can be used to cut out shapes to decorate the pie or, as would traditionally be the case to make a lattice pastry topping for the tart.
4. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down slightly while you make the filling.
Filling:
5. Reduce oven Temperature to 180C/ Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
6. Put the golden syrup, ground ginger in a small saucepan and heat through until warmed but not bubbling. Remove from heat and add in the breadcrumbs, egg and lemon juice and mix everything together thoroughly. Pour into the blind-baked pastry case and bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 25 minutes until golden brown and slightly risen.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. I like to serve slices of this tart, still very slightly warm with some clotted cream or with a scoop of marmalade ice-cream.
 

Serves 6.