Ann O’Carroll’s Treacle Tart

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

Oh, if I had a penny for every time a customer has said this is the best treacle tart they’ve ever had! Annie who is from Wales, is the senior sous-chef at the Sugar Club. She’s been with us almost from the start and is a bit of a character - a very talented one too. I asked her for a recipe for this book, and this is what she came up with. My only input is to suggest making the pastry with lemon zest as I feel it helps cut through the richness of the filling. So here’s how to make the most delicious treacle tart to be found in London!

The recipe will make one large tart for eight people. Use a 28-30cm (11–12in) loose-bottomed tart tin. There may be more mixture than you need, so don’t fill the tart shell too full as it will overflow and stick the tart to the tin. It can then be almost impossible to remove without ruining the crust. Golden syrup and treacle are one and the same, by the way - hence the absence of ‘treacle’ in the ingredients list.


Sweet-Lemon Pastry

  • 300g (11oz) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1—2cm (½in) cubes
  • 500g (18oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 200g (7oz) icing sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 50ml (fl oz) cold milk


  • 4 eggs
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 550ml (19fl oz) golden syrup
  • 450ml (15fl oz) double cream
  • 150g (5oz) brioche crumbs (or bread or croissant crumbs)


Pulse the butter and flour in a food processer for 1 minute, then add the lemon zest and icing sugar and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the egg and half the milk and pulse until it forms a ball. It is important not to overwork the pastry as it will toughen – if it’s too dry add a little more milk. Remove the pastry and knead it gently for a few seconds, then wrap it in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take the base from the tart tin and press the pastry on to this, spreading it with the back of your hand. Dust the worktop and the pastry with flour and roll the pastry out into a circle until it is 3—5mm (-⅕in) thick; the circle should be large enough to cover the sides of the tin. Carefully lift the pastry and base from the worktop and sit in the tart tin. Press the pastry gently into the tin, trim off any excess and put the case in the fridge or freezer for at least an hour. Then line the pastry with baking parchment, fill with cooking beans and bake for 15 minutes in an oven that’s been preheated to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Remove the beans and paper and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the case is an even golden colour.

For the filling, set the oven at 160°C/320°F/Gas 3. Whisk the eggs, lemon juice and zest for half a minute, then add the golden syrup and cream and whisk until the mix emulsifies. Finally, add the crumbs and mix well. Pour the mixture immediately into the precooked tart case, place on a baking tray and put in the oven. Check after 35 minutes. The tart is cooked when the filling has gone golden and slightly puffy. Rock the tart on its tray: it should wobble but show no sign of uncooked filling. If it does, return to the oven until done.