When I think of Treacle Tart I immediately think of Harry Potter. I can’t say I remember him gushing about his love for this British classic in the books but there are just some things Harry Potter fans come to know. And a quick google revealed that Treacle Tart is mentioned several times in the series and I missed it. I guess it’s time for a re-read. So with Harry’s endorsement, I was eager to see what this tart was all about.
First off the ingredients had me a little sceptical, bread crumbs, lemon and no sign of treacle. I couldn’t really find any explanation for the absence of treacle, but I did notice that it was missing from just about every treacle tart recipe I read. I guess we can add Treacle Tart to the list of misleading recipes names along with Brandy Snaps.
You know what was there instead of treacle??? GOLDEN SYRUP! And do you know who is the best??? MY MOM because she bought me Golden Syrup after the Brandy Snap debacle. Look at it, in all its golden glory!
With all the proper ingredients assembled, I began my pastry. I recently bought a food processor (FP for short because who has time to write out food processor as many times as I’m about to). So I was very excited to see Mary’s recipe actually says you can make the dough in an FP. I don’t have any particular dislike for making pastry dough by hand and I don’t think it is very taxing (unlike kneading which I have learned is much better done by a mixer) but I was eager to play with my new toy so in my flour and butter went.
The FP did a great job of combining the butter and flour into crumbs and it was time to add in the water after only a few pulses. Going from crumbs to dough was a little more difficult. I ended up adding in an extra table spoon of water to get the dough to come together. I’m not sure if this was because I was using an FP and the butter wasn’t softening much without the warmth of my hands or it just needed more water. Either way, the extra tablespoon did the trick.
Not ready to part with my new kitchen gadget yet I cleaned out the bowl of the FP and threw in the remnants of my 8 strand plaited loaf. At this point, I was thankful that the loaf was just a plain white bread since this was a perfect way to use up the last few slices. As Mary would say I “blitzed” the bread and got some great bread crumbs.
While the dough chilled I made the filling. The filling was really easy to come together, it is just a matter of heating the golden syrup and adding in the bread crumbs and lemon. Although easy to make the filling was really throwing me off. My husband and I theorised that bread crumbs would have been a cheap and easy thickener back in the day but the lemons? It just didn’t make sense to me adding lemon to something kind of caramelly like the golden syrup. The flavours just don’t seem to compliment each other. But Treacle Tart is a classic and I wasn’t about to question the great Harry Potter.
Things got a bit chaotic when it was time to assemble the tart. Firstly the tin saga continues since I could not for the life of me find a 7-inch removable bottom tart tin. I did find the 9-inch tin that I needed for the lemon tart but that wasn’t going to help so I went back to my 4-inch tins. But the real problems started when it came to the lattice. My strips of dough were all wonky. The never would have passed muster with Paul and Mary. I had thick ones and thin ones and short ones and long ones. But I had already egg washed the dough so I couldn’t re roll and try again.
Then came the lattice that Mary spends all of 8 words describing “start to make the woven laying lattice pattern”. Thanks Berry! Thankfully I had watched the blessed Masterclass so I had some idea of what was going on. So I “start[ed] to make the woven laying lattice pattern”. While weaving though I kept getting stuck in my filling so things got quite sticky. After what felt like hours I had 3 Treacle Tarts ready for the oven.
Baking was another challenge. Since my tarts were not the right size I had to constantly monitor the bake. I must have check these tarts ten times before pulling them out just to realise they weren’t fully baked. After another ten minutes, I think they were in the oven for a total of 35 minutes (the same length of time needed to cook the full 7-inch tart). I must have over filled the tarts because there was some significant leakage from the top, but thankfully no soggy bottom!
As a Harry Potter fan this is hard to say, but, I did not like the Treacle Tart. I just didn’t get it. There was so much lemon flavour and, I can’t believe I’m saying this because I have read that people found this recipe sickly sweet, but it wasn’t sweet enough for me. Eek, I might have to reexamine my life if 400g of golden syrup isn’t sweet enough but it’s the truth. That being said the pastry was good, the texture was fine, I thought the bread crumbs would be a bit weird but they were fine, it just wasn’t my taste. At least I like Butterbeer.