There is no better time to eat treacle tart than when the nights draw in early, but we usually find an excuse during the day as well! Most people associate treacle tart with a sweet stodgy pudding that comes out of the supermarket packet. This recipe offers a lighter filling but with all of the flavour and richness for when you need to really indulge on a winter’s evening in front of the fire.

At the restaurant we prepare individual pastry cases and treacle filling before service and ask the customer to order the treacle tart at the start of their meal so we can bake it while they are eating their main course. By the time they are ready for pudding, out comes a treacle tart with crisp pastry and all of those lovely aromas you get from the warm treacle and orange.

Ingredients

For the sweet pastry

190g icing sugar
210g diced unsalted butter (soft)
2 eggs
500g plain flour

For the treacle filling

225g golden syrup
50g treacle
220ml double cream
75g fresh white bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 orange zest

Method

Start by making the sweet pastry. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and icing sugar together. Mix until very pale and all the butter and icing sugar are incorporated. While still mixing, slowly add the eggs a little at a time, making sure the first egg is fully combined before adding the second. Sift in the plain flour and mix well until you can form a smooth pastry ball. Flatten out the pastry with a rolling pin to form a 6-8” diameter disc. Wrap the disc in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Once the pastry has rested, it is now ready to roll. First, butter a 10” flan ring which has a removable base. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin. Unwrap the pastry and lay it on the surface. Roll the pastry out until you have a large circle 1/2 cm thick. Carefully place the pastry into the flan ring, making sure it goes all the way to the edges. Place the ring on to a tray and refrigerate for a further 30 minutes. Once chilled prick the bottom of the tart case with a fork about 10-15 times evenly across the base. Cover the tart case with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Again leave this to rest in the fridge until you have the treacle tart filling ready. To make the filling gently heat the treacle, golden syrup and double cream in a heavy based saucepan for 5 minutes. Remove from the hob and while still warm, whisk in the eggs and then add the orange zest, lemon juice and breadcrumbs until all the mixture is incorporated. Preheat the oven to 160ᵒC. To bake, take the baking bean-filled pastry case from the refrigerator and place into the middle of an oven then bake for 20 minutes. Take the case out of the oven, carefully remove the baking beans and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove the case from the oven and carefully pour the treacle filling into the pastry case. Return the tart to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the middle of the tart is just cooked. The top of the tart filling should look as though it has dried out and is beginning to crack. Allow the tart to cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes then remove from the flan ring. Slice the tart into portions and serve with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream.