Tuesday 17 July 2012

Norfolk treacle tart

Penny's Paella - an all-seafood version
One Saturday morning, friends invited us to come over that evening for an impromptu paella. I offered to take a dessert, of course. And then realised that I really, really didn't want to leave the house to buy ingredients.

My mental inventory of the fridge and pantry (was too lazy to actually stand up and look) showed that I had a small carton of cream, quite a few eggs and some limes. And some pastry in the freezer.

I happened upon a recipe for a Norfolk Treacle Tart. This is not what most people think of when they hear the term "treacle tart" (actually, outside of the UK I have no idea what people think of when they hear the term treacle tart - possibly a sticky prostitute?). The treacle tart that, for example, Harry Potter likes, is a delicious, but tooth-achingly sweet mixture of breadcrumbs and golden syrup in a shortcrust pastry case.

This one is more like a baked custard tart, with the golden syrup as a flavouring. It is very rich but much less sweet than the breadcrumb version. When I made the filling, I looked at the quantity and realised it was going to be a very thin smear of custard, so I increased it by 50% (i.e 170g butter, 180g syrup, 3 eggs, 6 tbs cream). I also used lime zest and not lemon. This seemed poetic, as one of my early food memories involves lime marmalade eaten in Norfolk.

The other change was to use puff pastry. I opened the freezer to get the shortcrust out and was horrified to discover that it was gluten free, vegan shortcrust pastry. I can only imagine that the grocery delivery substituted my usual butter shortcrust one day when I wasn't paying attention. Anyway, that odd substitute for food can stay in the freezer until the day when I entertain a coeliac vegan. The puff pastry was delicious with it, though. The combination of flaky, crisp pastry and syrupy custard made the dessert a bit reminiscent of two of my favourites - the Greek dessert galaktoboureko, and Portuguese pasteis de nata.

It's a very good dessert to keep in mind for unexpected company! Or unexpected invitations.

A pile of fresh berries would be good on the side. Some creme fraiche or icecream would also be delicious.


Joanne said...

Wow what a great "pantry dessert"! I've never had treacle tart but I really want to after reading this!

Suelle said...

That looks a really interesting recipe, and the finished tart looks delicious. I've never noticed this version of treacle tart before.

kat said...

oh that does look tasty. You know in my head a treacle tart was dark & sticky & had something to do with molasses, ha!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I always read about treacle in British books growing up, but in real life I'm yet to have any treacle. The tart looks good!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Joanne - it'd probably work with long-life cream, too, which is handy.

Suelle - apparently Charles Dickens was a fan, so it's be around a while!

Kat - some of them are. This is made with golden syrup, which isn't as dark as treacle (which is more like molasses).

Leafy - I prefer golden syrup to treacle! I don't think I ever saw actual treacle in Australia.

Unknown said...

Looks wonderful, you made something great out of nothing it looks like to me!

grace said...

OF COURSE the puff pastry was wonderful with it! incidentally, 'treacle' isn't a word spoken very often in america, but i like the way it sounds, and i LOVE the way it looks!

Caroline said...

Very different to the version I'm used to (and which I am now craving!) but equally delicious looking.

Choclette said...

Think I much prefer this version of a treacle tart, I always find the standard one way too sweet. Lime sounds good in it too, to help counteract the syrup.


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