Treacle tartBy Paul Clerehugh
September 19, 2008
Some cooks and restaurants get awfully fancy with treacle tarts – putting pecan nuts in it, adding a pointless pastry lattice on top. All you need is breadcrumbs made from slightly stale bread, more golden syrup than you thought possible and a generous squeeze of lemon juice, a tang of acidity from the lemon provides the perfect counterbalance to all this sweetness.
It is wonderful served warm with clotted cream but for those with a very sweet tooth – custard sauce has got to be the ultimate sleeping partner.
- 200g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 50g cold butter, cut into pieces
- 50g lard, cut into pieces
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- 175g white breadcrumbs
- 7-8 tbsp golden syrup
- Juice of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
Stand the tin of golden syrup in a pan of boiling water (this just makes it easier to pour).
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with the salt. Add the butter and lard and quickly rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles heavy breadcrumbs.
Add the water, a little at a time and use a knife to stir it up into a clump. Knead it a couple of times, pat into a ball, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
Flour a work surface and roll the pastry until you can cut a circle to fit a non-stick 23cm tart tin with a removable base. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and loosely drape it over the tin, lifting the edge of the dough with one hand and pressing it into the base and up the side of the dish with the other hand, this prevents shrinkage.
Trim off the excess dough and use scraps to plug any tears or cracks. Loosely cover with a large sheet of foil and fill with pastry beans or rice. Cook in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the foil, lower the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Return the tart to a lower shelf and cook for a further five minutes.
Tip the breadcrumbs into the hot tart case – they should come almost to the edge of the pastry – and spoon over the golden syrup, working from the outside in.
Allow the syrup to sink down and saturate the bread – you don’t want any pools of syrup remaining but, equally, you don’t want blonde patches – and then squeeze over the lemon juice.
Cook in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the filling has set and turned a light toffee colour. Allow the tart to cool for five minutes, then run a knife between the pastry and tart tin.
Stand the tart on a tin to remove the collar, slide the tart on to a plate and serve.
Paul Clerehugh is chef and proprietor of London Street Brasserie, Reading, and The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row