Monday, February 16, 2009

Treacle tart

I apologise for the lack of Valentine's Day greetings. Last year I did at least oblige with a heart-shaped mousse, even though it was through gritted teeth due to my rather negative feelings about February 14th. It is after all, the day most dreaded by single women.

This year things took rather an about turn. Rather than feeling sorry for myself and bristling at the sight of heart shaped goodies invading the usually sane food blogosphere I actually found myself feeling a little more positive about the whole experience. It started with the large bunch of roses that arrived on Friday.

But the flower-sender didn't stop there. The flower-sender then took it upon himself to cook dinner for me on 'the big day'. So essentially, I was thoroughly spoiled. I'm not entirely sure what I did to deserve such special treatment but it was certainly rather lovely to sit back with a glass of Champagne whilst someone else did all the work. This explains the total lack of Valentine posting: I was too busy drinking Champagne. Sorry.

So. No heart-shaped goodies from me. Instead, I offer you treacle tart.

As regular readers will know, I'm pretty partial to traditional British puds. Treacle tart is a total favourite and I will always order it if I spy it on a menu. Invariably I am disappointed though. I'm a little particular about how I like my treacle tart. I like it fairly lemony. I like a little citrus bite to balance the intense sweetness that lashings of golden syrup brings to the tart.

I haven't provided a pastry recipe here. Use your favourite type - it should be nice and short, possibly with some sweetness or perhaps flavoured with some nuts or ginger. If you can't be bothered, I won't tell anyone if you use a block of readymade from the chiller cabinet at your supermarket.

On this occasion I made my tarts in individual tins, but a big one works just as well!

By the way - if anyone can tell me why it is called 'treacle tart' when it is made with golden syrup, I'd love to know!

Treacle Tart
Serves 6

350g shortcrust pastry (see above)

225g/8oz golden syrup
25g/1oz butter
1 large unwaxed lemon
75g/3oz white breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 190C. Roll out the pastry and line an 8 inch loose bottomed fluted flan tin (or use individual tins). Leave a little pastry overhanging the edge to allow for shrinkage. Blind bake the pastry case, having filled with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Trim excess pastry.

2. For the filling, heat syrup and butter over a low heat. Add the juice and finely grated zest of the lemon and stir to combine until you have a nice lemony syrup.

3. Spoon breadcrumbs into the pastry case and pour over the lemon syrup. Bake for 25 minutes, or until filling is set. Leave to cool a little before serving - I like it best when warm but not hot. Serve with ice-cream, cream, custard or even clotted cream.

As you can see, my friend had a slight... slippage... with the cream.


Anonymous said...

Oooh, how exciting! Glad you had a good day.

I'm now going to go back and read your post properly, I got rather carried away!

Jennywenny said...

mmmm love treacle tart. My granny used to make a lovely one. I think in some parts of the uk, treacle is interchangeable with golden syrup, and 'black treacle' is the gloopy dark stuff.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know treacle tart was so simple to make! I'm definitely going to try your recipe!

Katiecakes said...

OMG! That looks fantastic. I love treacle tarts, like LOVE!!!

Oh no, I want some now! Look what you've done to me!

Katie xox

Frequent Traveler said...

Very happy for you that you had such a nice day and were treated so well, Antonia !

The tart sounds good - I wish I had one here right now just baked !

Dan said...

I love traditional British puddings as well, in paticular - I love treacle tart....In my opinion, a close runner up to Spotted Dick.
They look really nice.
Just out of interest - how long do you cook them when in individual tins like that? shorter cooking time?

Lucy said...

It sounds like you had a lovely Valentine's Day after all! Oooh, that treacle tart looks gorgeously sticky. It is my Dad's favourite thing, I must try it sometime :)

Sam said...

I haven't had treacle tart for years but I used to love it with custard. Mmm heaven!

Maggie said...

A bunch of red roses sounds very promising Antonia!
Golden syrup wasn't made until the 1880's. A clue to its origin lies in the old way of making gingerbread by mixing breadcrumbs with honey and spice. Many people flavour the crumbs-and-syrup tart filling with a pinch of ground ginger and lemon juice, and some nineteenth century tarts were made with dried fruit, peel and thick treacle. Festive gingerbread was a delicious memory then and somebody decided that the mixture would taste just as good in a pastry case.
Apparently, there is also a Norfolk treacle tart which is a lemon custard flavoured with golden syrup. In Suffolk there is something similar known as Treacle Custard. These both used to be made with treacle.

Alex said...

Who needs heart-shaped things when you've got a trad treacle tart?!

But... good question on it's name!

Can't find it in Jane Grigson's English Food and now I'm intrigued! Off to investigate...

Caroline said...

Glad to hear you had a good valentine's day. The tart looks amazing - I love treacle tart!

When I make treacle tart I sometimes put a small amount of treacle in with the golden syrup - I find it helps cut the sweetness. Similar to you liking a citrus hint perhaps?

Beth (jamandcream) said...

It has to be the best british pud - in my book anyway!! Sounds like you had an interesting valentines day!!! I could only dream of champagne!

Maria♥ said...

Antonia, that treacle tart looks absolutely delish, especially with the custard.


Wendy said...

That looks delicious. Perfect, in fact.
I didn't mark Valentines on the blog either. Did buy D a present. Not sure it could be classed as romantic: it was an axe!

Abitofafoodie said...

Ginger - thank you for sharing my excitement! Made a nice change, certainly.

Jennywenny - I use dark treacle for ginger cake etc but it has such a different flavour to syrup... Could well be good with treacle too - yum.

Nathalie - Is indeed really easy - hope you'll give it a try.

Katie - me too. Such a favourite.

Annie - I wish I had one that I could send to you right now.

Dan - Mmm - spotted dick is great too. I actually found they needed about the same amount of time - maybe five minutes less.

Lucy - I did indeed. I was thoroughly spoiled.

Sam - I love it best with custard too.

Margaret - thank you so much for the information - most interesting. I didn't realise there were so many variations.

Crumbs - I like the idea of adding a little treacle - might try that next time.

Alex - treacle tart is certainly the way to my heart!

Beth - yes I did indeed have a good day. Very spoiled!

Maria - everything tastes better with custard, doesn't it?!

Wendy - that is hilarious. I love that you bought him an axe!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Treacle tart would do it for me any day!

This old-fashioned favourite should be something I make more often - funny how we forget the good old faithfuls. This is a great recipe for these recession times, too

Nic said...

I love treacle tart, your looks like you could dive into it, it's so luxurious!
Glad you had a nice V-day, roses & Champagne eh? Very nice!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Antonia your treacle tart looks gorgeous!! Pleased to hear you had a nice day too :0)

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

About the name... golden syrup is also kinown as light treacle, so the name of the dessert still applies whether it is made with true dark treacle or golden syrup!