social spark Aisling Beatha: Treacle Tart


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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Treacle Tart

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Continuing the series of Traditional Pudding Recipes, today we have Treacle Tart.

Amounts of ingredients will be in the easier to print section at the bottom of this post.

For the pastry you will need flour, butter and an egg.

For the filling you will need golden syrup, ground ginger, a lemon and breadcrumbs.

You will also need a food processor, a 9 inch flan tin, a piece of baking paper and some baking beans (or rice, or in this case I used barley).

Dice the butter

Put flour and butter into the food processor and blitz until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Then, beat the egg and add that to the processor, very slowly, while the machine is running.  Eventually that will begin to come together.  I took it out of the machine at this point and gave it a few swift kneads by hand to bring it together.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry until it is larger than the flan tin.

This is a very soft pastry so the next part needs to be done carefully.  Gently roll the pastry around the rolling pin.

Lift it up over the tin

And unroll

gently, lift the overhanging sides and push them into the edges of the pan.  Do NOT trim the overhanging edges (other than really big bits), leave them attached for now.  This is a tip I picked up from the Hairy bikers.  I wish I had followed their tip completely and trimmed when I should have done, but I'll explain that later, sigh.  The reason you do this, is because the pastry will shrink back while baking and you want the finished pastry to be up to the edge of the flan tin, not below it.

Prick all over the bottom of the tin with a fork.

Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 190°C/gas mark 5 (375f for my American friends)

When you are ready to put the flan in to blind bake, place your piece of baking paper over the pastry in the tin and fill with baking beans.  I used to have a jar of baking beans, but i don't know what happened to them.  So I went through my cupboard and found a bag of pearl barley which was out of date.  I used that.

Bake like that for 15 minutes (actually needed a couple of minutes more in my oven).

Then remove the paper and beans, saving the beans in a jar for another time.  

Put the tin back in the oven for another 5 minutes to get just the tiniest bit browned.  here you can see where I patched a hole with some reserved pastry, after the first part of the blind baking.  As it turned out, I probably didn't patch it well enough, or there was another hole I didn't spot.  You'll see, later.

It is at THIS POINT that I should have trimmed the edges of the pastry, but I forgot.  It is much easier to trim now than later when the pastry is fully finished and crispy.

Meanwhile mix the golden syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, ground ginger and breadcrumbs in a bowl.

Pour that into the flan tin.

And bake in the oven.  IF you are going to be eating this cold, give it just 30 minutes, if you are going to be eating it while it is still warm you can give it a few minutes longer, it solidifies as it cools and cutting the cold tart can be fun if you have cooked it just a little too long.

THIS is why you need to make sure there are no holes in your pastry and possibly put down a silicone liner on the shelf beneath your flan tin.  HOT, STICKY golden syrup mixture all over my baking stone!  OOOOPS!  This was definitely leaking from the bottom of the flan tin (removable bottom), and not coming up over the edges.

If your tin has leaked in the oven, remember to put something underneath it while it is cooling as well.

I trimmed the overhanging pastry now (remember, you should have done it earlier).

Serve with clotted cream.

I tried to make a quenelle shape of the cream, hmm, think I need a bit more practice.

Tasting Notes - I already mentioned the fun of cutting a firm sticky tart like this, so if you are making it to eat cold, keep that baking time to the bottom of the time allowed.  I chose this particular recipe (from the BBC website) because of the addition of a little ginger.  In hindsight, I would use slightly less lemon and slightly more ginger and the I could not taste the ginger at all, it was overpowered by the lemon.  The printable recipe below, reflects these alterations.  Even with this amount of ginger, you probably will not be able to TASTE the ginger, merely be kind of aware that it is there, if that makes sense.

So far in the Traditional Puddings recipes I have done
  1. Gingerbread
  2. Eve's Pudding
  3. Sticky Toffee Pudding
  4. Jam Roly Poly
  5. Toffee Apple Pudding
Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Treacle tart
For the pastry
225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
110g/4oz butter, chilled, diced
1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten

For the filling
450g/1lb golden syrup
85g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 small lemon, zest, finely grated and 1 tbsp of the juice  (if your lemon is larger, don't use all the zest)

To serve
clotted cream or double cream

Preparation method
1. In the bowl of your food processor mix the flour and diced butter until it appears like fine breadcrumbs.

2. With the processor still running on medium to high, slowly add the beaten egg and blitz some more until the dough starts to come together.  Knead by hand just enough to bring it to a smooth lump of pastry.

3. Use the dough to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin, prick the base all over with a fork and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

5. Line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with rice or ceramic baking beans. Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, remove the paper and rice or beans and return the pastry case to the oven for a few minutes more, until light golden-brown.

6. For the filling, mix together the filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into the pastry case. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold with clotted cream or double cream.


  1. It sounds and looks delicious!

  2. sounds delicious. I have to admit that I've never made a tart.


  3. I've been so curious about Treacle tarts! Thanks for the recipe. Is golden syrup like corn syrup or honey or something (from the US here)?

  4. My grandma moved here from England in the 40's she loved treacle tarts! Great post!


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