The kitchen smelled wonderful when I cooked this tart and I soon found I could hardly move as my family gathered, anxious to find out what was cooking.
On hearing it was treacle tart, the Harry Potter fan in the house was delighted. "That's Harry's favourite dessert!" she said.
Although when she saw it cooked on the plate, she was a little underwhelmed.
It really is a bit of brown stuff on some pastry, but it does taste sweet and warming.
You'll also be very popular with the kids or grandchildren if you make this for them and, according to my research, treacle tart is cockney rhyming slang for "sweetheart" so you can have a bit of fun with that
too if you like.
My only memory of treacle tart is from my favourite movie as a child, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, when the child catcher lures the children by promising a taste of it.
Treacle is a by-product of sugar refining and is a tacky, dark substance. You can use golden syrup instead but you would lose the lovely deep, dark brown colour of the tart. And because treacle is so unrefined it still has a lot of stuff in it which is good for you - iron, calcium, B vitamins and minerals. It's practically a health food!
Treacle tart is a traditional English dessert that is usually served with clotted cream.
It's a great way to use up stale bread, which you make into breadcrumbs for the filling. For a sweet tooth, it's a better than something with pure white sugar which has had all the goodness refined out of it.
My favourite discovery while making this tart, however, was the shortcrust pastry. I've never made it from scratch before and the use of lard in this meant it was crispy and sweet, and totally divine. It took no time
to make and will be very useful for any tarts I care to make in the future, so I'm going to be sure I don't lose this recipe.
If you have any left over I strongly recommend you roll it out, grab some jam and make a wee tart just for you.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then rub in the lard (or dripping) with your fingertips until you have a crumb-like consistency.
- With a knife, stir in a little cold water until it is just binding together. Be careful here because you don't want a sloppy consistency, it should be just holding together. Don't handle with your hands if you can help it as it likes to be kept cold.
- Roll out with a little flour very quickly and line a greased tin. You can decorate the edges if you like by folding over and crimping with a knife. Place the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool.
- To make the filling: Mix the breadcrumbs, treacle (or golden syrup) and lemon juice together then press into the tart case. Bake in a 200 degC oven for 10 minutes, then reduce to 180 deg C for another 10 to 15 minutes. The tart is cooked when the pastry is golden.
- Serve with whipped cream, yoghurt or vanilla ice cream. You can flavour the ice cream with cinnamon if you like.