This easy treacle tart recipe would be Harry Potter's favorite. Make it for your family to enjoy after reading the Harry Potter series together or for enjoying during a fun Harry Potter movie party.
As big Harry Potter fans, treacle tart was something our family was always curious about. When my husband discovered he is 65% British because of a surprising Ancestry DNA test result, we decided to finally give this recipe a try.
What surprised me most about this new-to-us dessert was my husband's positive reaction! He was nervous to try the first slice but then begged to have a second serving.
What is Treacle Tart??
If you've only read about this recipe in Harry Potter, this is a fair question!
For US readers, a traditional treacle tart is a simple pie that is very similar to pecan pie minus the pecans.
The key differences between pecan pie and treacle tart are:
- The filling is made with Lyle's Golden Syrup--like a cross between corn syrup and maple syrup in a gorgeous golden color.
- Instead of pecans, plain bread crumbs and lemon zest are mixed in.
- The crust is a thicker, almost shortbread-like texture rather than a flaky pie crust.
What we all loved most was that treacle tart has such an awesome texture. It is light and crispy on the outside, soft and slightly chewy on the inside.
The buttery crust has no sugar in it so it isn't overly sweet. The addition of lemon zest gives it a freshness and a bit of unexpected zing for something that looks so . . . brown.
The ingredients you need to make an easy treacle tart are very simple:
- Lyle's Golden Syrup
- Plain breadcrumbs: I used panko bread crumbs for an extra-light texture
The one ingredient you may struggle to find in the US is the traditional Lyle's Golden Syrup.
It is absolutely worth hunting down if you want to make a traditional Harry Potter treacle tart. The flavor is very unique and it gives the tart a beautiful color.
I've found this product at:
- Our local grocery store (Fresh Market) in the baking aisle near the honey, syrups, and liquic sweeteners
- At World Market in the British imports section
- On Amazon right here
When you find it, I actually recommend that you buy an extra bottle to keep in your pantry. It is an essential ingredient for the homemade gingerbread houses we made. We discovered an older bottle worked better than a fresh one for that recipe, so buy a spare now and let it age.
The only step of this recipe that takes a little bit of effort is preparing the tart shell. I've included step-by-step photos so you can see exactly how to do it.
You can break it down in easy stages and it will take very little time.
Step 1: Prepare the Dough
Measure ¼ cup water and add several ice cubes to the measuring cup. Set aside while you prepare the flour and butter.
A food processor makes this step extremely easy. This whole thing will take about 5 minutes.
Cut the cold butter into cubes and add it to the bowl of your processor with the flour and salt.
Pulse the processor until the butter has been cut into the flour and the crumbs appear damp and start to clump together (Photo 2 in the collage above.)
Remove the ice cubes from your water. With the processor running, drizzle the cold water into the machine and process until the dough comes together in a ball. (Photo 3 in the collage above.)
Transfer the dough ball to a floured surface and shape it into a round, flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in your fridge for 1 hour.
Step 2: Prepare the Tart Crust
Remove the chilled dough from your fridge and place it on a lightly floured rolling mat.
This recipe works best with a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan.
Roll the dough out to an 11-inch diameter.
Place the rolling pin at one end of the circle and gently roll the dough over the pin to lift it from the mat. (Photo 2 of the collage above.)
Using your rolling pin, transfer the dough to the tart pan and unroll it into place. Gently ease the sides down into place. You'll have a bit of excess dough peeking over the top of the edges of the pan. (Photo 3 of the collage above.)
Use your rolling pin to roll over the top of the tart pan to cut and trim the excess dough. Just peel away the extra bits and discard them. This gives you a nice, neat tart shell edge. (Photo 4 of the collage above.)
Prick all over the bottom of the tart shell with a fork. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until just lightly golden brown.
Step 3: Prep the Filling
Meanwhile, prepare the treacle filling.
Add the Lyle's golden syrup to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until it is smooth and slightly runny, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let it boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter to the syrup so it will melt.
Add the bread crumbs, milk, and lemon zest to the pan and stir.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk it briefly to break up the yolk.
With a whisk in one hand continuously beating the egg, use your other hand to slowly drizzle a little of the syrup into the egg. This will bring it up to temperature safely and help you avoid having scrambled eggs in your tart.
Pour the tempered egg into the pan and whisk together until smooth.
Step 4: Bake the Tart
Pour the filling into the baked tart shell.
Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is just set.
Let the tart cool before attempting to remove it from the tart pan.
The filling comes together very quickly. It is a good idea to prep all your ingredients and place them on the counter near the stove so you can grab them in the order they're needed without having to stop and measure it as you go.
The treacle tart is best at room temperature, served with whipped cream.
Serve the tart the day it is baked for the best texture.
It can be made a day in advance and stored, covered, in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
For the crust:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 8 tablespoon butter cubed and chilled
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup ice water
For the filling:
- 1 cup Lyle's golden syrup or molasses
- 6 tablespoon plain bread crumbs we used panko
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Whipped cream for serving
To make the crust:
- Cut the butter into cubes. Place the flour, butter and ¼ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until pea-sized crumbles form.
- With the processor running, pour ¼ cup ice-cold water through the spout of the bowl and run the processor until the dough forms a ball.
- Transfer to a floured surface and form into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Prepare the tart crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an 11-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Trim excess dough and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Take the tart crust and prick it with a fork all over the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is just set and a light golden brown.
Make the filling:
- In a large saucepan, heat the golden syrup over medium heat until runny and loose. (Do NOT boil!) Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt until the butter has melted. Add the bread crumbs, milk, and lemon zest.
- Temper the beaten egg by placing the egg in a small bowl and then taking a ladle of the warmed syrup and slowly drizzling it into the egg bowl while whisking constantly. Then slowly drizzle the egg mixture back into the large saucepan while whisking constantly. This prevents scrambled egg chunks from forming in your tart.
- Pour the filling into the baked tart shell and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until filling is just set.
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