Treacle Tart

Treacle tart isn’t made with treacle but with Golden Syrup from the green and silver tin with its strange lion and fly logo. To achieve the required slightly gooey yet firm texture for the filling, the breadcrumbs must be loosely but generously loaded into the pastry case – and the case should be hot from the oven to help settle the golden syrup. A tang of acidity from the lemon provides the perfect counterbalance to all this sweetness.

Hot treacle tart cries out for vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6-8
Prep:  30 min
Cook: 40 min

200g plain flour
pinch salt
75g cold butter, cut into pieces
25g lard
3-5 tbsp cold water
175g fresh white breadcrumbs
7-8 tbsp golden syrup
juice of ½  lemon
vanilla ice cream to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 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. Cut the butter over the top 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 a couple of times, pat the pastry 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 loose-bottomed 25.5cm tart tin. 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 180C/gas mark 4 and return the tart to a lower shelf and cook for a further 5 minutes. Tip the breadcrumbs into the hot tart case – they should come almost right up to the edge of the pastry – and spoon or pour 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 blond patches – and then squeeze over the lemon juice. Cook in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes until the filling has set and turned a light toffee colour. Stand on a can of beans to remove the ring, slide onto a plate and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.