Saturday, December 4, 2010

Treacle Tart Experiment

This is an interim blog post. I am knitting, but the pace is a bit slower. I've been working in fingering or sock yarn. Takes time to finish a project.

The dessert at left was made for Thanksgiving. Every holiday I like to try some new item, just for fun.

Treacle tart was mentioned as Harry Potter's favorite dessert. A few months ago, I bought a tin of Golden Syrup out of sheer curiosity. The taste is sort of buttery. Treacle tart was the most promising recipe I could find to use it. Note- Black Treacle is a syrup that is essentially molasses. The British tend to use the word "treacle" to denote sugar cane syrups in general. I had to discover this on my own. My Scottish in-laws have been utterly incapable of providing any meaningful conversation on the topic. My curiosity drives them nuts (in a long list of grievances).

Treacle tart consists of a short crust pastry, the top crust must be latticed or may be omitted and a sugary filling. The recipe that I used. called for Golden Syrup, fresh white breadcrumbs, ginger and lemon. The mixture is then baked. My kids really liked it.

There seems to be a lot of variation in the recipes for this dessert. There are lots of versions online. I am not posting the recipe that I used because my results were very different from the recipe description. The recipe stated that the tart would be "cookie-like". I mixed the ingredients, weighing them out according to the recipe. The mixture I got was very dry. It could not be poured into the crust. I ended up adding more syrup and also some evaporated milk to get a moister filling. I did this because some modern recipes call for cream and sometimes eggs. After I filled the crust, and assembled the lattice top, the tart still didn't look right. The filling still looked too much like a pile of crumbs. I cover the tart and left it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, I baked the tart, with good results. The breadcrumbs broke down overnight and I got a smoother, homogeneous filling. It was sweet and a little bland. The next time I try this, I will increase the amount of lemon and ginger. I would also prefer to get the "cookie-like" texture mentioned in the recipe. Possibly, leaving out the dairy would produce that. I will research more variations of this dessert before I try again. It's and interesting variation in the family of sigary pies such as Shoofly, Chess, and Pecan Pies.