Monday, September 12, 2011

Treacle Tart

Treacle Tart is often sited as Harry Potter's favorite dessert, but its first mention is at the first Hogwarts feast:

"Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding..." (Sorcerer's Stone 125).

Since Treacle is an ultra-sweet substance, I assumed that treacle tarts would be sickeningly sweet, which is also what Dinah Bucholz says about them (she compares treacle tarts to pecan pie). But I don't think so at all! They're quite lovely and lemony and a perfect end to a meal. Though I do recommend pairing your slice with a bit of custard or a scoop of ice cream. The recipe we're using is from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.

What is the difference between a tart and a pie, you wonder? Well, tarts are usually smaller, and are cooked in pans with vertical, fluted edges (unless you don't have a tart pan, like me, in which case they're cooked in a pie pan... which makes it the same as a pie, I guess). 

A note about treacle: I buy mine at various well-stocked grocery stores in my area. I definitely recommend using it instead of molasses if you can find it. Do a google search to find a store near you that carries it.

For the Crust, You Will Need:
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small chunks
2 large egg yolks (ha, I just now realized I used the whole egg instead of just the yolks. oops.)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling, You Will Need:
1 cup Treacle Golden Syrup or Light Molasses or Corn Syrup
2 1/4 cups bread crumbs
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten with 1Tbs water with which to brush the crust

1. For the crust, place the flour, salt, and confectioner's sugar in your food processor and pulse to combine.
2. Scatter the butter on top and pulse until it resembles coarse yellow meal without any white powdery bits. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the cream and vanilla.
4. Pour egg mixture into the flour/butter mixture and toss with a spatula until it clumps together. If it is too dry, add 1Tbs more heavy cream.

5. Divide the dough in two, and form into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
6. Just before you're ready to roll out the dough, prepare the filling. Be sure your lemon zest and juice is ready before you begin.
7. Warm the treacle in the microwave for 1 minute, then add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and mix well.

10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out the larger (if there is one) disk of dough into an 11" circle. Fold it into quarters, then unfold it into a 9" tart pan and press into the flutes (I used a 9.5" pie pan, and it worked fine).

11. Roll out the second disk 1/8" thick and cut into strips for the lattice topping.

12. Scrape the filling into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

13. Lay half the dough strips over the filling one direction and the other half in the opposite direction, creating a lattice. Trim the overhang and brush the lattice with the beaten egg mixture.

14. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake another 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the filling has puffed up a bit. 

Serve warm with custard or ice cream. 

This dessert is delicious, and would be appropriate during any season at any function. No wonder it's Harry's favorite. Yum.

1 comment:

  1. This one's just about there, but the filling is too light...there should be a tablespoon or two of black treacle added to the golden treacle. It should be a darker brown.