Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Best Treacle Tart Ever.

This year on New Year's Eve life was a bit different. My birthday's on January 1st so usually NYE is birthday party time, but I did NOT want to be 20 and so kept it on the ultra-low this time. Instead Fraser came over on my birthday, and for New Year's Eve Mum's boyfriend came for dinner and Mum and I did uber cooking. 
And I made this:

It has been the work of years, and started off as a recipe by Linda Collister in The Great British Book of Baking. And I'm pretty darn proud of it if I do say so myself.

Pastry                                                                           Filling
- 220g plain flour                                                           - 9 rounded tbsp golden syrup
- pinch of salt                                                               - 3 rounded tbsp treacle
- 1tsp caster sugar                                                        - 150g white breadcrumbs
- 160g unsalted butter, chilled and diced                     - zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 2-3tbsp ice-cold water                                               - juice of half of each the lemon and orange
                                                                                     - 1tsp ground ginger
                                                                                     - 1tsp grated nutmeg

You'll need yourself a 26cm-deep pie dish (or thereabouts), and some cold hands to work with the pastry - though that last one's probably not going to be hard to ensure at the moment (brrrrr)!

What to do:
1. Sieve the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl, then rub in the butter using the tips of your fingers.
2. Using a round-bladed knife, stir in enough of the water to bind the mixture into a dough.
3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes while you make the filling/pour yourself a glass of wine or suchlike.
4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle 3cm larger than your dish. If you don't have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle, Genius or what?!
5. Use your rolling pin (/wine bottle) to transfer the pastry to the dish, then press the pastry into the base. Trim off any excess pastry using a sharp knife and put aside. Put the dish  into the fridge to chill.

6. You can either clingfilm the excess pastry and fridge it to make jam tarts later, or you can get fancy and use it to make a lattice top. If the former, skip to the filling bit below, but if the latter, keep reading folks.
7. Roll out the excess pastry so it's slightly larger than the pie dish, then cut it into strips of about 2cm each. You should end up with 12-14.
8. Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper larger than the dish, and place one of the strips onto the middle of it. Take another and lay it perpendicular to the first, so it lies across the top. Place another in the same direction as the first strip (leaving a gap the same size as the strip itself), between it and the first, and tucking it underneath the second strip. Continue like this until you have a full lattice and each of the strips are used.

1. This is super simple. Gently heat the golden syrup and treacle in a pan until runny, then remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, zest, juice and spices.
2. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. If the mixture seems loose then stir in more crumbs, or if it's too stiff then add more syrup until you're happy with the consistency.
3. Spoon the filling into the pastry case, taking care not to compact the mixture.
4. If you've made a lattice top, slide your hand underneath the greaseproof paper and lift it. Bring it close to the tart, and then flip it in one swift motion. Remove the paper and trim the edges of the lattice, then brush with a beaten egg.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes at 190°C, until the pastry is golden. And then enjoy thoroughly - with cream/custard/ice-cream if convenient. If inconvenient, do it anyway.

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