Thursday, 19 April 2012

Deep Treacle Tart


Recipe Number One Hundred & Eighty Six:  Page 272.

This recipe easily won the vote on my Facebook Poll; obviously we can't resist a helping of treacle tart. I haven't attempted this popular dessert before, so I was surprised to discover that breadcrumbs play such a key role. I would never have guessed!

My little boy was spending the morning with his grandparents and Neil was attending yet another interview. I had the house all to myself! I took the opportunity to potter around with my hair stuck up on end and stayed wrapped in my dressing gown for as long as possible. I looked through a few books and did a minimal amount of tidying. The peace was heaven for a while but I soon found myself missing Isaac's constant chatter!!

The rain was still persistently falling when I started baking. Through the kitchen window I watched a soggy blackbird repeatedly shake the water from its feathers. I feared it was fighting a losing battle! I felt glad to be inside in the dry, while turning on the oven certainly helped to warm things up. I admit that I wasn't looking forward to the first task. I do not enjoy making pastry! It is not the process itself but the rolling out. It always seems to go wrong, the dough falls apart and the end result looks untidy. I find it very stressful!!

To make the dough I measured some plain flour into my mixing bowl and then rubbed in some chilled butter. My cold butter was rock hard and it took an age for it to rub into the flour. I was terrified that I had over worked it. Mary says to pour in two tablespoons of cold water. I tried to combine all the ingredients together to form a firm dough but it was impossible. The mixture was very dry and I required almost double the suggested amount of water. Once I had managed to form the dough into a ball, I wrapped it in cling film to rest in the fridge for twenty minutes. At this point Neil and Isaac arrived home. Isaac offered me a smile and a cheery ‘Hello!’ before heading straight over to the fridge to play with his magnets. No cuddle for Mummy!!

It was soon time to take the chilled dough from the fridge and face the dreaded rolling out. Instead of using flour on the worktop I simply placed the ball of dough on a sheet of greaseproof paper. The rolling out process wasn't as painful as I had feared. Despite a few cracks I managed to transfer it to the flan tin with only a few minor repairs necessary. Now it was time to make the filling. I was quite excited about using my blender to make breadcrumbs! I'd never tried it before and very much hoped that it would work. I was instructed to use fresh bread but I wasn't sure if I should use the crusts or not. I expect I could have put them to use but, as I wasn't sure, I decided to cut them off. I shoved a few slices of bread into my blender and quickly discovered that I'd overloaded the poor machine. It transpired that I had to work my way through over half a loaf one slice at time. A little tedious, but it didn't take too long. I loved making the breadcrumbs (I'm easily pleased) and felt tempted to carry on and make more! I think I will always have a large stock in the freezer from now on. In fact the blended crusts are already in there waiting to be used!

As the word treacle is in the title of the recipe I half expected to crack open a tin of black treacle. However, I was of course to use golden syrup and lots of it too. I weighed the sticky substance into my largest saucepan and warmed it gently on the hob. I quickly grabbed two large lemons, grated the zest and collected their juice. This tart was going to be very lemony as well as treacly. Into the warm golden syrup I tipped the enormous mountain of breadcrumbs along with the zest and juice. Mary says to add more breadcrumbs if the mixture appears too runny. Apparently it can depend on whether you use white or brown bread. I used white and my mixture appeared to be just right. It was thick without any excess liquid. I tipped it into the awaiting pastry case. I was surprised that I hadn't needed to blind bake the case first; I hoped and prayed that my tart didn't end up with the dreaded soggy bottom!

I placed the tin onto a pre-heated tray in the hot oven. It had to cook for ten minutes at a reasonably high temperature and then be turned down for the remaining cooking time. After the full forty minutes in the oven I thought it should be ready and cooked through. The pastry may have looked a little anaemic but the filling was in danger of burning. I left it to cool in the tin for half an hour but I couldn't wait any longer than that; I was dying to try a piece!

The tart sliced well but was thinner than I had expected. On further inspection I was delighted to see that the base of the tart was not in the least bit soggy, hurrah! I did wonder if the pastry was a bit too thin. I never know how thick or thin it should be and I rarely get it right! The filling tasted strongly of both treacle and lemon which made for a heavenly combination. The texture was vaguely chewy and sticky. Later on in the evening we thought we should try a slice cold. This was purely for research purposes of course! The filling had become a little chewier; while I thought the lemon flavour was perhaps a little stronger. I preferred it cold while Neil preferred it warm!

I had great fun making this deep treacle tart. It was fairly easy and simple to make and it really did taste quite delicious. This is one to add to my make again list. It's really just another excuse to make breadcrumbs!!!!
A bit of a pale tart and shame about the reflection on the plate!

3 comments:

  1. I made this a while a go and was surprised by the lemons in the recipe - it is delicious though!

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  2. Oooh that looks yummy, just looking at the picture takes me back to my childhood, standing in the kitchen, nose at hob height as my mother stirred syrup in a saucepan.....

    She never put lemons in it though - she would probably have thought it too exotic and extravagant back in the 1950's (otherwise knows as the nineteen-thrifties), so I will get the book out and try it myself. My dad will be coming round for his dinner as usual this Sunday and he loves it when I make the things my mother used to make.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it too Millers :-)

    Aww sounds like this brings back wonderful childhood memories. How lovely. I wasn't expecting the lemons Jean so I'm sure it tasted just as good without. I'd be interested to hear how you got on with the recipe. I hope your dad enjoyed his portion! Sure it brought memories back for him too :-)

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