Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A New Twist On Treacle Tarts (From Our Potter Party!)

Here's the recipe I'm most excited to share with you guys from our Harry Potter Christmas party: our very own twist on Treacle Tarts! Of course I realize it's tantamount to blasphemy to mess with such a traditional favorite, but hear me out, purists!

First, some pretty pictures:
 

Oooh. Ahhh. YUMMM.

For my fellow Americans and others who've never tried a Treacle Tart, they're typically made with a shortcrust filled with a mixture of treacle syrup (imagine a very light molasses), bread crumbs, and lemon.

John and I made the traditional recipe, but found the lemon too sharp with the treacle - and we love lemon desserts. The texture was also more crumbly where I expected gooey, and the crust was just... there.  I mean, overall it was fine. But I wanted something amazing.

So after 4 or 5 rounds of tweaking, taste-testing, and foisting our creation on family and friends, we finally got it: a caramelized, gooey, chewy, citrusy sweet that is buttery heaven in your mouth.
John loves it with a dollop of clotted cream, which adds a cool buttery texture, but no real flavor.

The secret? We swapped out the shortcrust for a graham cracker one, and replaced the lemon zest with orange zest instead. (Though it still has lemon juice in it.) The result is a warmer, milder citrus flavor, mixed with the sweetness of buttery graham crackers, which complements the orange and treacle perfectly.

Ready to make some?

Here's what you need:


- 1 bottle (11 oz) Lyles Golden Syrup  (check your specialty grocers)
- 1 sleeve of graham crackers
- 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- the zest of 1/2 an orange 
- 6 Tbsp salted butter
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- (optional) powdered sugar, for garnish


To make the crust:

Pulverize a full sleeve of graham crackers in either a food processor or by rolling them in a large Ziploc bag:

Mix with 6 Tbsp melted butter and 1/3 cup sugar until clumpy.


Now place a heaping tablespoon of crust into each cup of an ungreased muffin pan:

Then use a handy measuring cup (or spoon) to firmly tamp the crust down:



Bake the crusts for 7 minutes at 325 degrees.
They'll turn a nice golden brown - and your house will smell FABULOUS.


While that cools, make the filling:

Combine the bottle of treacle with your breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and orange zest:
This is a LOT of zest, but we like orange. Feel free to use a little less for a milder orange flavor, or mix in a little lemon zest, too, for more zing.

Spoon the filling into the cups without overflowing the crust edge:


Like so:

Bake for 14 minutes, or until the edges are a bright golden brown - but not burnt.

This recipe yields about 18 tarts. A little goes a long way with these, though; they're heavy little sugar bombs - albeit in the best, gooiest way - so you shouldn't have to make more than one or two per guest.

Thanks to the butter in the crust, the tarts will pop right out if you press firmly on one side with a spoon. (Be careful how hard you press, though, or they'll shoot across the counter! Ha!)

To finish, sift on a little powdered sugar:

This is just to look nice, though; it's completely optional.

The tarts are fantastic at any temperature, but the flavor is a little stronger once they've cooled, so room temperature is great - and extra easy for parties.

Store leftovers in a sealed plastic bag, where they'll last at least a week - or probably more, if you can resist the temptation of eating them all! If they seem too hard/chewy, just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds, and they'll soften right up.

As I said, John looooves them with Devonshire clotted cream:

So definitely give that a shot. Other folks eat treacle tarts with crème fraîche, which is a kind of mild sour cream. We didn't like that as well, but it's worth a try to see if you do!

Hope that was worth the wait, everyone! Now, who's baking this weekend? :D

(Stay tuned for recipes for our Cauldron Cakes, Meat Pasties, and Savory Pumpkin Pasties, which took almost as many revisions as these tarts!)

*****
 
UPDATE: As requested, here's a printer-friendly version of the recipe!

 

41 comments:

  1. You've inspired me to plan for my own Harry Potter party, and I'm very grateful for these instruction/detail posts. Thank you!

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  2. If you live in the Southeast, Publix has Golden Syrup. As a substitute, Nigella Lawson recommends Karo Syrup with a smidge of Molasses.

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    1. I was wondering if Jen went to Publix to get the syrup. ;) (since she lives in FL) Now I know I can go to my favorite grocery store.

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  3. Any chance of a printer friendly version of the recipe? Or did I just miss the spot to print?

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  4. *gasp* but that's not treacle, that's golden syrup! I shall send you some actual treacle immediately!

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    1. I've always been taught that pale/light treacle = golden syrup = light molasses, and dark treacle = dark molasses [not as dark/strong as blackstrap molasses]. I've only ever seen treacle tarts made with the first variety of treacle.

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  5. Those sound delightful! I will have to set my kiddo (chef to be) on these!

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  6. These are my favorite! I just can't find Clotted Cream :(

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    1. If you have a World Market in your area, sometimes they have it.

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    2. I've found it at Whole Foods, in the cheese section by creme frache and fresh mozzarella.

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  7. Just bought some treacle syrup on Amazon, so I may have to try these.

    For those who love clotted cream, you can make a pretty good version in a crock pot with any heavy whipping cream that is not ultra high pasteurized.

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  8. Hmmmm...dammit. You've made this look too delicious and sound too easy. Since you managed treacle tarts sans egg, it shouldn't be hard at all to veganize the rest of the recipe for my family. I've never looked for vegan graham crackers, but I'm sure I'll be able to find them somewhere. Grrrr. Now I have to bake.

    Will let you know how they turn out.

    Thanks for the test-kitchening and food-blogging! My eyes sure like it, but my thighs are gonna hate it!

    KW

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    1. "Plated with Style" has a paleo/vegan crust recipe that might work: http://www.platedwithstyle.com/2014/03/02/paleo-and-vegan-graham-cracker-pie-crust/

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  9. It looks like I will be baking this weekend. Planned on making a chocolate cake (with a pound of butter between the cake and frosting) but it looks like I will be making a trip to the store for golden syrup. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. It looks like you've crossed the "Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook" with "America's Test Kitchen"! I love it, and look forward to your other recipes. You guys are the MOST fun.

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  11. Treacle tart is always made with syrup instead of actual treacle. Which is fine by me as I don't like treacle. I think it's like mince pies, the recipe evolved but the name stayed the same.

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  12. Looks and sounds yummy.
    Please, can you explain "1 sleeve" of crackers? There's a package in the picture (14.4 oz / 408 grams) - is a sleeve the same amount as the entire package, or about one half of the package, or what? Thanks so much from a grateful Scandinavian reader :)
    (I have an idea of which local product to substitute for the crackers, but would love to have a clue about the right amount...)

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    1. American graham crackers are usually packaged in quarters, that is, there are four sleeves in that box. I prefer to buy them in "fresh packs" which is the same box in eighths. With 14.4 ounces per box, that would be 3.6 ounces per sleeve. That's just over 102 grams in metric weight.

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    2. In the US the graham crackers are divided into 3 stacks, each one wrapped in a plastic or (in the olden days) wax paper sleeve. The package in the picture would have 3 sleeves, so I would say about 125grams.

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    3. Three sleeves to a box. Hope that helps!

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    4. No, it would not be the whole box, I wouldn't think (Jen feel free to correct!)
      Graham crackers are sold in boxes with stacks of crackers separated into 3-4 sleeves of plastic. 1 sleeve would be 1 of these segments

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  13. If you use fresh breadcrumbs rather than the dried ones, you get a softer, more gooey texture. Just stick some day old bread in the food processor and give it a whizz. Store bought are too dry.

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  14. I have never had or included lemon juice in a treacle tart, the traditional recipe is shortcrust pastry,fresh breadcrumbs (you make them yourself by mutilating a couple of slices off your loaf) My Mum and I sometimes use cornflakes instead and yes its Tate and Lyle's Golden syrup which is also used to make treacle pudding...my credentials? I am a 56 year old British housewife.

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  15. Any chance of listing the weight of a 'sleeve' of graham crackers? (For those of us in far away places who'll have to find substitutes). Looks amazingly delicious.

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  16. They look delicious! I'm in the UK but I've never made treacle tart myself, I'd like to give yours a go. Do you have ideas of the weights of the ingredients, like the crackers and the syrup, that you used?

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  17. Don't feel bad about changing the original- it's more fun that way! Hurray for baking!!!!! And THIS is why I call myself Pinkie (I get all excited about baking, almost exactly like that.)
    Pinkie Welborne, 16,
    Indiana

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  18. I might have to give this a go even though I probably won't like them. I'm one of those weird people that likes to bake fun things because friends like them but doesn't actually eat most of the stuff I make because, I don't like it. This weekend I'll be making cake balls for my friends because they love them and I'll have a nice little square of the cake plain and warm right out of the oven before they get pulverized and made into the balls.

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  19. Lyle's Golden Syrup is available from Amazon.com, if you can't find it locally. We use it on hot cereal; it's my very favorite topping for oatmeal and cream of wheat.

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  20. For the non-Americans, what exactly are graham crackers?

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    1. Graham crackers are like digestive biscuits made with graham flour, which is just coarsely-ground whole wheat flour. The taste of graham crackers and digestives is nearly identical IMO, though there is a bit more salt in digestives, and a bit more sugar in graham crackers. Digestives tend to be more crumbly, while graham crackers are sturdier [snapping apart rather than crumbling].

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  21. Is there ANYthing you guys can't do??? Love you! Merry Christmas!

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  22. I suspect the reason that the texture was wrong in the original recipe you made was that you used dry breadcrumbs instead of freshly crumbed bread. You can use bread that has started to go a bit stale and dry, cut the crusts off if you want a smoother texture (but being economical, my mum never did) and whizz it up in a food processor. Breadcrumbs made this way freeze well too.

    The mix for your version looks too sloppy to this Brit.

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  23. I really hope I get the chance to make this with my sister while I'm home for Christmas - it was so amazing at the party!!! I keep thinking about it and how spectacular it was and everything else I've eaten since then has seemed a little less impressive in comparison. I'm pretty sure it was actually made with magic. ^_^

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  24. Well, now I want to try to make these! As if I didn't have enough other Christmas goodies around already. ;D I'll have to save the recipe for attempting sometime in the (near) future. Thanks for sharing all your fun things from the party!

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  25. Yeah - as some of the others have said, you need fresh breadcrumbs not dried for a properly gooey treacle tart. And your lemons must've been really potent, it's not usually a detectable flavour, it just adds a little balance.

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  26. Hello. Native Brit here: my grandmother made the best treacle/syrup tarts ever. This may sound a bit naggy (sorry) or bossy. Sorry.

    The key is that your (commercial) breadcrumbs are too small. This description may or may not work. You know that big sugar crystal baked in finish? (Here you find it in farm-house style cakes). Your breadcrumbs should be that size. The goop should not (or barely) pour.

    I don't know what kind of syrup you're using but it should be thick and unctuous. I think my nan used tat-and-lyles golden syrup in a green tin. (uh, this might be conjecture _everyone_ uses t&l). Spread (and you will need to spread) thinly-ish.

    I should prob point out that I was somewhere under 10 at the time. (hence the unspecific syrup)

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  27. I am literally drooling as I read this.

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  28. What is that abomination in the jar? That isn't clotted cream! I'm English, and our 'Double Cream' doesn't look like that. You poor Americans! I can't fathom how you can bear this diabolical long-life substitute! Double Cream is a thick pouring cream you can whip. CLOTTED Cream, on the other hand, is literal Ambrosia. It's made with Cream and Butter where the cream and butter are simmered together until the Cream volume is 1/3 of the original, then poured into a pot and cooled. The butter settles out onto the top and the cream has a thick, gooey consistency.

    http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1682807/images/n-CLOTTED-CREAM-628x314.jpg

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    1. Agreed. As an American who first had clotted cream over there and then found this stopgap over here, it's nowhere near as delicious, and just serves as a pale substitute when you have a "homesick" craving. We're so separated from our farming here that it's also really difficult to find fresh milk\cream to try to make your own. :-(

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  29. I made these last night - I found that I had to use a sleeve and a half of graham crackers in order to have enough crust for it to have a little rise around the edges, and I did wind up going with the lemon/ginger flavor over the orange. Orange was good but WOW was it a lot.

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