Friday, 16 March 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Treacle Tart

My book arrived two days ago and I immediately noticed how heavy the thing is. Seriously heavy.

The baptismal recipe was created for last night’s Girls’ Night pot-luck and clothes swap at Ruth’s house. Bonus: except for the white bread, I already had everything I needed for it in the house.

I had no idea that there was 200g of white bread in treacle tart. I thought the treacle was made of, well I don’t know what I thought the treacle was made of, but not bread. I don’t eat much bread so was bothered by the fact that the only bread the local shop had on offer was an 800g loaf. After the tart’s share, that’d leave me with a whole 600g of waste. Rubbish. So I bought 400g of the Polski Sklep's finest. Only problem – it wasn’t so fresh.

The pastry was easy. I used some of the stuff I’d already made from The Joy of Cooking ‘cause the recipe was the same. Processing the bread into crumbs was easy. Adding the lemon (a rather antiquated lemon-like specimen I found in the door of the fridge) was easy. Getting 8 tablespoons of golden syrup out of the tin was not so easy. Verrry messy.

The bread/lemon/syrup mixing went much more smoothly than I imagined it would, but the resulting goo was rather shallow in the pie tin. There was about a half an inch between the beginning of the crust and the top of the treacle.

When I pulled the tart out at the agreed time, it looked damp and squalid, and too "formed". pulled a few bits off to taste and they just tasted like a bit of hot sweet bread. Not like treacle tart, in other words.

treacle tartI added another two tablespoons of golden syrup to the top of the tart, shoved it back in the oven for 10 minutes, and then it looked more like something you’d want to eat. However, the "treacle" was still a lump of self-contained product inside the crust, and it was toasted on top. Just like in the book. Reared on Mr. Kipling, I had expected it to be much more gooey.

I took it ‘round to Ruth’s with a tub of vanilla, but because no one had organised who was bringing savoury or sweet we had five desserts to eat after a dinner of garlic bread and crisps. My treacle tart unfortunately didn’t make the cut.

So re-warmed today and eaten with a cup of rooibos tea, the tart is OK. I honestly don’t think it would have made a difference if we’d eaten it last night or not. M thinks it's good, but I’m convinced it’s not great. It definitely needs ice cream or something else cold and creamy to go alongside. Worst feature: you can taste the bread. Best feature: the golden syrup sticks to my teeth.

Things I’d change next time:

Lemon rind to replace 1/4 tsp of the juice
More golden syrup
Really really fresh plain white bread. It shouldn’t be too salty ‘cause that comes out in the finished product.
Maybe some cinnamon or nutmeg to add depth
Thicker crust

Buy the book cheap through our Amazon store and you can make your own treacle tart.


About Cook-the-books said...

I've never made treacle tart myself but my first job ever was in a tea room in Devon where I grew up and it served a beautiful one made by my friend's mum. Sounds like something that when it's disappointing it's not really worth the bother?


Aleks said...

everyone else seemed to like it! i think i've just been socialised by Mr. Kipling. It's extremely easy, so even disappointing results aren't so bad. goes down a treat with vanilla ice cream!


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