Grapefruit Treacle Tart

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I adore treacle tart. At lunch before my wedding, I had 24 oysters followed by a bowl of treacle tart and custard. Bliss. But I do recognize that most treacle tarts are too sweet, so I devised this variation in which grapefruit cuts through the sweetness of the syrup. Serve it with ice cream, cream, or good old-fashioned custard, homemade or shop-bought.

Ingredients

  • 3 pink grapefruit
  • 3 large eggs
  • 450 g golden syrup
  • 50 ml double cream
  • 100 g coarse fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

For the Pastry

  • 140 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 250 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2–3 tbsp iced water

Method

  1. To make the pastry, put the butter, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour lightly using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Use a butter knife to mix in the egg yolks and enough water to bring it together to a crumbly dough – it should only just hold together. Wrap the dough in cling film, and chill it in the fridge for at least 1 hour, until firm.
  2. Finely grate the zest of one grapefruit. Cut the fruit in half and extract the juice. Put the grapefruit juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly until the juice has reduced by about two thirds and has become syrupy. Peel and segment the other two grapefruit, removing all pith.
  3. To make the filling, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until yolks and whites are smoothly combined, then add the golden syrup, cream, reduced grapefruit juice and zest, and the breadcrumbs. Stir vigorously to combine.
  4. Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Grease a 24cm (9½in) loose-bottomed flan tin.
  5. Unwrap the pastry and roll it out as thinly as you can on a dusted surface, ideally to a thickness of only 1mm. Line the greased tin with the pastry, then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.
  6. Trim the excess pastry from the top of the pastry case, then fill it with the treacle mixture. Put it directly onto the pre-heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40–50 minutes, covering it with foil towards the end of cooking if it is browning too much on top.
  7. While the tart is baking, dry the grapefruit segments on a piece of kitchen paper, then place them on a sturdy metal baking tray and sprinkle the caster sugar liberally over them. Use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelize the sugar (see Tips).
  8. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool until it is just lukewarm, not hot. Arrange the caramelized grapefruit segments on top of the warm tart.