When making the pastry for my French-inspired tuna and tomato tart, I decided double the recipe, giving me enough dough for another creation. This time I looked closer to home and decided to experiment with my one of my Dad's favourite puds, the good old treacle tart (this also bears more than a passing resemblance to the tart au sucre I enjoyed earlier last year in Brussels).
Traditionally this isn't made with dark treacle at all, but instead with the more familiar golden syrup. It's one of those wonderfully simple, tooth-achingly sweet puddings we Brits are so good at; just syrup-saturated breadcrumbs in a friable pastry case. Sometimes you may find a little lemon or ground ginger to spice things up, and you should always find a dollop of cream or ice cream alongside to cut through the sweetness, but that's all there is to it.
While the classic version is indisputably great, I wanted to try something a little more complex. Swapping half the syrup for black treacle and adding ground almonds and plenty of lemon zest produced something gloriously sweet and spicy, with hints of burnt liquorice from the treacle. Served with good spoonful of thick double cream, perfumed with lemon zest, this is a proper grown-up nursery pudding.
Black Treacle Tart with Lemon Cream
250g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
200g black treacle
200g golden syrup
100g white breadcrumbs
100g ground almonds
2 eggs, beaten
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt
300ml double cream
Zest of half a lemon
To make the pastry place flour and butter in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can rub mixture together with your fingertips if you prefer). Add the egg and pulse until mixture comes together. You may need to add a little cold water.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease a 23cm non-stick tart tin.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Carefully line the tin, patching any holes with spare pastry. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Line the tin with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (I use reuse a jar of dried chickpeas). Place in the oven and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove greaseproof paper and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the base is a light golden colour.
Remove from oven and turn temperature down to 160c
While pastry is blind baking place treacle, syrup, eggs, zest, salt and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Mix well and leave to stand.
When pastry is ready carefully pour the filling into the tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the top is set and golden.
Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, stir through the zest and chill until needed.
Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing and serving with the lemon cream.