Harry Potter’s favorite dessert: treacle tart, a very simple and delicious tart made with golden syrup, fresh breadcrumbs and lemon juice.
Every person who ever read Harry Potter has heard of the famous treacle tart, it is mentioned in several books of the series, either baked by the Hogwarts elves or even by Harry’s own elf, inherited from Sirius, Kreacher. It is another popular English dessert, however, I must admit I had never heard of it before starting reading the books. I was curious what it was and I did googled searching for a recipe already years ago. But I was never too keen on baking the tart, the use of golden syrup has always put me off it somehow.
First of all, in Romania I did not know what golden syrup was. And after discovering and tasting the golden syrup here in Germany, a syrup that I usually use for making fondant, I was even less keen on baking a treacle tart. You see, I thought it would just be toooooooo sweet, golden syrup is just sugar in a liquid form.
But when deciding on making this Harry Potter series, I knew I had to give the treacle tart a go, it is one of the most famous foods mentioned in the book, butterbeer and pumpkin juice being probably the only ones that get mentioned more frequently than this tart. And I am so glad I did bake the tart, I liked it so muuuuuuch more than I thought I would. Although using so much golden syrup, the tart is not overly sweet, the lemon juice mixed with the syrup and the breadcrumbs make all the difference, cutting through the sweetness and adding a delicious tanginess and lemon aroma. And what I liked most is the fact that the tart is almost cookie-like in the end, when cold and set (and especially the next day) it feels and tastes like a lemony jam cookie, my favorite kind of cookie.
I used a barely sweetened crust, the one that I used for making the Mince Pies and the Pumpkin Pasties, it has really become my favorite shortcrust pastry recipe, it is so easy to make and it rolls so perfectly (Serious Eats). To make the filling I used a recipe found in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory–More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards (Unofficial Cookbook), a book that my brother-in-law gave me for Christmas last year.
I wish you a happy first Advent (if you are celebrating that, of course) and in case you are looking for a quick tart to make today, this wonderful treacle tart might be the answer.
Serves: 12 slices
- For the pastry:
- 350 g/ 12.5 oz/ 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 280 g/ 10 oz/ 2 ½ sticks butter (European style butter is best, it has less water)
- 5-6 tablespoons very cold water
- Alternative: 2 ready-made pie crusts
- For the filling:
- 315 g/ 1 cup golden syrup (Grafschafter Heller Sirup for Germany)
- 110 g/ 2 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs (made from crustless toast bread)
- 1 organic lemon
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water for brushing the pastry
- To make the pastry cut the butter into small cubes, place them in one layer on a plate and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes, they should not be frozen but get really cold.
- In the meantime place ⅔ of the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor. Mix well.
- Add the butter cubes and process shortly, about 25 short pulses or about 25 seconds with the Thermomix on level 4. The dough should just begin to clump. Sprinkle the remaining flour on top and pulse about 3-4 times or about 10 seconds on Thermomix on level 4 or until the dough is just barely broken.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons of the very cold water and incorporate using a rubber spatula (make sure is a good one, I broke one of mine in the process, but it was a very old one). Fold and press the dough until it comes together. Add the last tablespoon of water if necessary, sometimes I do add it, sometimes not, it depends on how exactly you weigh the flour and sometimes on the brand of flour itself. The dough should hold together when you press a little bit of it between your fingers. Form a ball, divide it into two discs, one a bit larger than the other and wrap the discs tightly in plastic foil. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out the larger disc into a circle large enough to cover the bottom and the edges of your pie form. My pie form has a diameter of 23 cm/ 9 inch, so I rolled the dough into a circle of about 26 cm/ 10.2 inch diameter. My pie dish also has a removable bottom (like a springform), which makes things easier for me when removing the pie from the form. A regular dish works as well, but you will have to be more careful when taking the tart out of the form. Or use a ceramic pie dish, so you can cut and serve the tart directly from the dish.
- Back to the crust. Place the rolled out pastry sheet into your dish, pressing the dough into the fluted edges of the pan. Roll out the second disc of pastry into a circle of about 3 mm/ ⅛ inch thickness and a diameter of about 23 cm/ 9 inch. Cut the pastry into long strips for the lattice topping.
- To make the filling remove the crust from the toast bread, weigh the 110 g needed and make breadcrumbs in your food processor. Zest and juice the lemon. Place the golden syrup into a small saucepan and warm gently until it is runny, it will not take long. Combine the syrup, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and lemon juice very well.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie dish and level the top. Lay half of the strips over the filling in one direction and the other half of the strips in the other direction to form a lattice. Trim the edges.
- Mix the egg and the water and brush the lattice and the edges of the pie with the mixture.
- Bake the tart for 10 minutes at 200 degrees/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then reduce the heat to 190 degrees Celsius/ 375 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling puffs up in the center.
- Apparently you should serve the tart warm with custard or whipped cream. We had it plain and like I've mentioned above I liked it even more the next day, when the tart was set and almost cookie-like. But that is a matter of taste, serve it as you like best.
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