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Tempting Treacle Tart

This fantastic British tart is made with a buttery shortbread crust and a thick, sweet golden syrup filling. Golden syrup is another name for light treacle. We are also adding lemon zest and breadcrumbs to the filling. Some recipes for treacle tart use ground almonds rather than fresh breadcrumbs. This tart is delicious hot or chilled. It goes well with clotted cream or, if you cannot get it where you are, whipped cream instead. Vanilla ice cream would be good instead. This is quite a simple recipe. The crust is prepared first because it needs chilling time. The crust is baked blind, the filling is added, and then the tart is baked again.

Treacle tart is popular with kids and with the the grownups too. Have you read the Harry Potter books? Treacle tart is actually Harry’s favourite tart and it is popular at all of the Hogwarts parties and feasts. The child-catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tries to lure the children out of the basement by offering this dessert too. A slice of this makes an excellent dessert, or you could enjoy it as a sweet snack with a beverage of choice.

Treacle tart dates back to 1883, when golden syrup (the main ingredient) was invented. Treacle stayed the generic name for syrupy by-products of the sugar refining process, although it used to only come in the thick, dark brown variety. Medieval gingerbread recipes called for sugar and breadcrumbs to make similar desserts, although honey would have been used as the sweetener back then in place of syrup or treacle.

Sweet and Sticky Treacle Tart
Summary: A buttery, shortbread crust is filled with a creamy, lemon and syrup filling, to make this classic British tart. Serve it with whipped or clotted cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Cuisine: British
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 210g (1½ cups) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 8 tablespoons chopped, chilled unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 60ml (¼ cup) ice cold water
  • 250ml (1 cup) Lyle's golden syrup or molasses
  • 6 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream (double cream)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Clotted or whipped cream, to serve (optional)
  1. Put the flour in a bowl and sift in 6 tablespoons of the butter and half the salt, rubbing together to make pea-sized crumbles.
  2. Now add the water and stir until you get a dough.
  3. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in Clingfilm (plastic wrap) and put it in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Heat the golden syrup or molasses in a 2-litre (2-quart) pan over a medium heat until it loosens.
  5. Take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the salt and butter, along with the egg, cream, breadcrumbs, and lemon zest, to make the filling.
  6. You can use brown (whole wheat) or white breadcrumbs, as you prefer.
  7. Set the filling mixture to one side.
  8. Next you can roll the dough out into a 28cm (11-inch) round.
  9. Put it in a 23cm (9-inch) spring-form tart pan, and trim off any excess dough.
  10. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  11. Now heat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).
  12. Prick the bottom of the crust a few times using a fork, then cover with parchment paper.
  13. Add dried beans and bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is set.
  14. Discard the parchment paper and beans, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
  15. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set.
  16. Serve hot or cold, with cream if liked.

Photo Description:

Rich and sticky treacle tart has been a British favourite for more than a century. The crumbly crust is filled with a delectable syrupy mixture which includes lemon and cream. This dessert can be served hot or chilled, and our recipe serves eight people. This tart used to be a favourite in the school lunchroom, when stale bread and cheap syrup were combined with other ingredients to make big batches of the economical dessert. Enjoy it with a glob of clotted cream or a generous dollop of whipped cream. A good quality vanilla ice cream would also complement the syrup and lemon flavours.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More