Treacle tart


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


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Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

In the fantastic world of Harry Potter, elves often bake Treacle tart. In real England it is an old-fashioned school pudding and, just like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.

Combining breadcrumbs with a sweet syrup in baked goods dates from before the 19th century, but the Treacle tart that we know today came into existence some time after the invention of the iconic golden syrup in 1883. It’s called Treacle tart and not Golden syrup tart because treacle is the general term for by-products of the sugar-refining process. Pecans are a nice addition to the tart crust, but don’t hesitate to replace them with more flour.


For the pecan shortcrust pastry

  • 200 g (7 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g ( oz) pecans, roasted and ground
  • 100 g ( oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 125 g ( oz) chilled butter, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • butter, for greasing
  • flour, for dusting

For the filling

  • 450 g (1 lb) golden syrup
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 120 g (4 ¼ oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp cream, with at least 40% fat
  • 1 egg


For a 22 cm (8½ inch) tart tin

Make the pecan shortcrust pastry by combining the flour, ground pecans, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse for 8 seconds or until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and pulse again until the dough forms a ball in the bowl. Remove from the bowl and knead briefly. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Butter and flour the tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface. Gently lift it over the tin and let it sink into the base. Use a piece of excess dough to firmly press the edge into the tin. Trim the excess pastry with a knife and then pierce the base with a fork. Freeze the tart shell for 1 hour or refrigerate for a few hours.

Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).

Crumple up a piece of baking paper, then smooth it out and place it in the tart shell. This will help the paper fit the shape of the tart. Fill the pastry with baking beads or rice and place in the middle of the oven to bake blind for 10 minutes until the edge of the crust is coloured. Remove the paper and beads or rice and bake for another 5 minutes to dry it out.

Make the filling by melting the golden syrup in a saucepan with the lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and ginger. Add the breadcrumbs, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and the egg, then spoon the filling into the tart shell.

Bake the tart for 30 minutes. The crust will become dark, which will give it much more taste. Treacle tart is lovely served warm with clotted cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold with warm custard.