Treacle tart is one of my friends favourites and I made these when she came to stay recently.
I think it’s probably fairly unique to Great Britain but for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a little like Canadian butter tart or pecan pie without the nuts.
There are a few different ways of making it, some recipes just use breadcrumbs, butter, lemon and syrup for the filling. Others cut the breadcrumbs with ground almonds and some, like mine use eggs to lighten the mixture.
I’ve opted for the lighter filling because these little tarts are quite deep, a full size tart would have a thinner layer of filling, in which case I think I would have used the more basic mixture.
White breadcrumbs work best and it’s all the better if the bread is a little stale, it’ll be more effective at helping to soak up the liquid ingredients.
I think it goes without saying that this dessert can be tooth-achingly sweet so it’s best served with a dollop of (clotted) cream to provide some freshness to cut through the stickiness.
makes 6 individual tarts
150g plain flour
1 egg yolk
splash of water (optional)
130g golden syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp cream
35g white breadcrumbs
you’ll also need an extra egg
Start by making the pastry. Gently rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Lightly beat the egg yolk and use this to bring the dough together, if you need to, add a tiny splash of water too.
Once you have a nice ball of dough, flatten it a little, wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and lightly grease your chosen baking tins.
Gently roll out the dough so that it’s about 3mm thick and then use this to line your pie tins. Be sure to press the dough into all the crevasses of the tins. Prick the bases with a fork, cover them with grease-proof paper and fill them with baking beans.
Pop these in the oven for 20 minutes to blind bake. Next you need to lightly beat the extra egg listed in the ingredients. Remove the beans from the pastry cases and lightly brush the insides with the beaten egg. This will help keep the pastry crisp when you add the filling later. Keep any remaining egg for the filling. Put the pastry back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until it’s baked through and lovely and crisp.
To make the filling all you need to do is melt together the butter, lemon (zest and juice) and syrup before whisking in the cream and remaining egg from baking the pastry cases. Finally stir in the breadcrumbs. These should absorb at least 90% of the liquid.
Spoon the filling into the cases and then bake the tiny tarts at 190°c for 30 minutes. If it looks like the edges of your pastry are going to get too brown then simply cover them over with a piece of foil. Once the tarts are cooked they should have a slightly crackled surface and be beautifully golden.
You can leave them to cool completely or serve them slightly warm (my preference) with cream, ice cream or custard.