Sunday, 2 September 2012

Treacle Tart

After watching this week's episode of The Great British Bake Off I really wanted to try my hand at the 'Technical Challenge' of Treacle Tart, except it's a recipe which contains my biggest baking nemesis - pastry. You see pastry and I have never got on well. I'm not sure if my butter is never cold enough, or my hands are too warm, or I'm just a bit too overenthusiastic with kneading the dough, but it just never seems to work. It's never flaky enough, always too chewy, but I was determined to get it right this time.

The recipe comes from Bake Off judge and all round baking queen Mary Berry, so you know it's reliable, and seemed easy enough - there are only six ingredients for a start. I even purchased a new loose bottomed flan tin for the occasion, because I wanted one with fluted edges and it was 70% off so it would be rude not to!

I decided to make the pastry using the food processor, partly because it's quicker than the traditional method of rubbing together butter and flour, and partly so if it all went wrong I could blame it on the machinery! Then it went into the fridge to 'rest' for 20 minutes before I rolled it out and lined the base of my shiny new flan tin. I debated over the best way to construct the lattice pattern for the top of my tart, the recipe states to roll out the pastry and egg wash it, then cut into strips and lay out the lattice once the filling is in the pastry case. But this leaves no room for error because once the pastry strips are on you can't take them off to readjust, so instead I copied a few of the Bake Off contestants and laid out the pattern on cling film first and then transferred it to the tart.

The filling consists of a bottle of Golden Syrup (yep that's right, a whole bottle!), white breadcrumbs and the juice and zest of a lemon. I love how simple it is, just heat the syrup and lemon, mix in the breadcrumbs and dump it all into the prepared tin. Then flip the pastry lattice on top, attempt to fix the edges where it's fallen apart during the flipping process, brush with a little egg wash and bake!

I'd never actually tried Treacle Tart before so don't really have anything to compare it to, but I was very impressed. The crumbly shortcrust pastry is a nice contrast to the gooey, sticky filling, and while my lattice won't win any beauty contests I was actually pretty pleased with it. The recipe said to use the juice and zest of two lemons, but I only had one and even that came through pretty strongly - two would definitely overpower the flavour of the golden syrup. Overall verdict? I wouldn't have got 'Star Baker', but don't think I would be bottom of the list either!

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