I have lived in London for nearly 10 years and I only had my first slice of treacle tart a few weeks ago at Bonds restaurant in The City (they have good lunch deals in August as all the bankers are off on holiday). I guess I never tried it because it looks a bit plain but I was so wrong. It’s a very simple dessert but it’s a national classic for a reason! It tastes so good when it’s warm with a bit of ice cream or cream.
A treacle tart is made primarily with golden syrup. Golden syrup is to the UK what corn syrup is to the USA. The UK is plentiful in golden syrup and we have to buy imported corn syrup at outrageous prices. In the US golden syrup is not native and you’ll have to pay about $9 for a 454g jar but you’ll get 2 tarts out of it (it’s available online and in specialty stores).
Golden syrup is essentially made when cane sugar is refined. It was invinted in East London not far from where I live now and you can see the factory from the window of the DLR at Silvertown.
As golden syrup is the main ingredient in this tart it’s not advisable to substitute it with something else.
Classic Treacle Tart
adapted from Gregg’s Favourite Puddings (makes 1 7 inch tart/pie. I used my 9 inch pie tin)
200g plain flour
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2-3 tbs ice water
250g golden syrup
75g white breadcrumbs
1 finely zested lemon
1. Make the pastry bu sifting the flour and salt into a bowl. Blend the butter into the flour using 2 knives, a pastry blender or your finger tips (with clean hands) until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
2. Add the water in a tablespoon at a time stirring with a knife until it comes together. Knead it with your hands a few times on a floured surface. Pat the dough into a disc shape. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Once your tin is lined chill it for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 C/390 F. In a medium sized bowl make the filling by mixing together the golden syrup, breadcrumbs and lemon zest.
Enjoy with a nice cup of tea!