I love, love, love, love, love, love Harry Potter. That probably wasn’t enough emphasis, but it does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to
live bake. So let’s move on. I also LOVE tarts. Enter the treacle tart recipe contained herein.
It’s based on a version by Heston Blumenthal, one of Britain’s most notable chefs. Of course it calls for treacle, which isn’t an ingredient you find in your everyday American pantry… or is it?
What is treacle and where do I find it?
Simple put, treacle is a slightly caramelized sugar syrup. It is not akin to corn syrup, and for the love of sanity please don’t ever use corn syrup. For anything. Just say NO. Bad for the environment, bad for health (more another time).
There are different types of treacle, and what we call molasses would be called black treacle at Hogwarts. This recipe calls for both molasses and golden treacle, a lighter syrup. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a well-known brand of such treacle, and of course you can order it on Amazon if it’s out of stock at Honeydukes.
Beware of the polyjuice perpetrators
As with any wonderful, original creation, there will always be imposters. You might find syrups labeled “treacle” or “golden syrup” by American producers. Be very wary and read the ingredients carefully, many sneak in corn syrup, even high fructose corn syrup! Confrigo!
Conjuring up your crust
Before baking the crust, dock a few holes or even line the dough with foil and weight with beans for added insurance. Even a well-made pastry will shrink back a bit when it bakes. The nature of the bloody business, I’m afraid. If you’d like to attack it Beauxbatons-style (AKA French), mix your pastry ingredients by hand. If like me you are the proud owner of a food processor, by all means… DO. IT.
If you’re crust tears during rolling or cracks during baking, a little Episkey! should repair it just fine. For those young muggles not of age, patch any holes with a little more dough, and bake a few more minutes to set.
Sorting treacle tart recipes into their proper houses
For a truly authentic tart you’d enjoy at Madam Puddifoot’s, use toasted whole wheat bread crumbs instead of almond flour. Traditionally the British use “brown bread”, which is a slightly sweet, wheat bread, but not necessarily the type of whole grain bread found in the States. In the absence of this, I like replacing with almond flour because it adds a nutty flavor, and cuts down on the starch. But what really matters here is the end result. Treacle tart on the table, and Harry Potter on your mind. No matter which house you find yourself in.Print
Sweet Pastry Crust
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter (11 tbs), cut into small cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ cups Lyle’s cane syrup or other golden cane syrup
1 tbsp molasses
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup heavy cream
3 eggs, large
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup almond flour or bread crumbs, lightly toasted
Prepare + chill crust
Combine flour, salt and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Using tips of fingers, rub butter into flour until it looks mostly like wet sand. Make a well in the middle, and pour in the egg. Gradually work the egg into the flour until a moist dough forms, using the heel of your hand to distribute any remaining large pieces of butter. Shape into a 5-inch disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until firm throughout. This can be done 2-3 days ahead, or way in advance of the Yule Ball and frozen. Thaw before rolling.
Roll + mold crust into pan
Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out dough into a 13-inch circle. Lay dough over an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and press gently but firmly against the bottom and sides to secure dough. Trim any excess dough hanging over the edges. Place in refrigerator or freezer until chilled and firm throughout.
Dock + pre-bake crust
Preheat oven to 325° F. Dock the bottom of the crust with a fork, lay a large, crumpled piece of parchment on top, and pour in pie weights (or a pound of dried beans). Bake for 25 minutes, until crust is a light golden brown. Set aside.
Boil + mix treacle filling
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, toast almond meal until fragrant, about 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, combine syrup, molasses, and salt, and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Whisk together eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, and ginger. Slowly drizzle in syrup mixture while whisking constantly. Stir in almond meal, and pour into crust.
Ready, set, bake!
Bake on a sheet pan at 325° F for 40 minutes, or until filling is set in the center. Cool in the tart pan on a rack. Store chilled, bringing to room temperature before serving.
Keywords: treacle tart recipe, Harry Potter recipes, treacle, golden syrup