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Today, I’m going to show you how to make a classic British dessert called a treacle tart. This treacle tart recipe is made with a shortbread crust. The filling is made of golden syrup, heavy cream, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. It’s so delicious and easy to make, you’ll be surprised! So gather your ingredients and let’s get baking!
I’ll be honest I was not that familiar with a treacle tart. And the first time I heard about it was watching the Harry Potter movies! This past summer I taught a Harry Potter kids baking camp, and we decided to make a treacle tart since it is Harry Potter’s favorite dessert. And after one bite, I could see why! I was instantly hooked. The combination of the shortbread crust and the sweet, sticky filling is just the chef’s kiss.
So if you’re a Harry Potter fan like I am then I know you’re going to love this traditional British dessert. And I think you’ll be surprised at how easy this tart is!
The tart crust is made in one bowl with softened butter and then pressed into a tart pan. And the filling is made on the stovetop in minutes. After the filling has cooked and thickened it gets poured into the tart crust and baked. I dust the tart with powdered sugar and it’s ready to serve!
Treacle tart is the perfect comfort food. It’s warm and inviting, and it always makes me feel happy. If you’re looking for a delicious and classic British dessert, I highly recommend giving treacle tart a try.
What is Treacle?
Oh maybe we should start there! Just what the heck is Treacle? Treacle is a common sweetener in England made from molasses, corn syrup, and sugar.
I purchased my Golden Syrup at my local grocery store, but if you can’t find any you can purchase online.
What does Treacle tart taste like?
This short crust pastry is buttery and the filling is sweet. It has refreshing hint of lemon. And is made with golden syrup which gives it a sweet gooey filling.
The addition of eggs and heavy cream makes for a rich, luscious filling that can’t be beat!
Why You Will Love This Treacle Tart Recipe
- It is a delicious and classic British dessert. Treacle tart is a traditional British dessert that is made with a shortbread crust and a filling of golden syrup, heavy cream, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. It is a delicious and decadent dessert that is perfect for any occasion.
- It is relatively easy to make. The recipe for treacle tart is relatively easy to follow and does not require any special skills or equipment. The most difficult part of the recipe is making the shortbread crust, but even that is not too difficult.
- It is versatile. Treacle tart can be served on its own or with whipped cream or ice cream. It can also be made ahead of time and frozen for later. This makes it a great dessert for parties or potlucks.
Ingredients Needed for this Treacle Tart Recipe
- All-purpose flour– The main ingredient for the shortbread crust. It provides structure and helps the crust hold its shape. Use a high-quality all-purpose flour for the best results. Or you can use 1:1 gluten free flour if you need to make a gluten free tart shell.
- Granulated sugar– Sweetens the crust and helps it brown in the oven. Use white granulated sugar for the best results.
- Salt- Brings out the flavors of the other ingredients. I prefer fine sea salt.
- Unsalted butter– Adds richness and flavor to the crust. It should be softened to room temperature before using. Use unsalted butter for the best results. Salted butter can add too much saltiness to the crust, but if that’s all you have then reduce the salt added. I haven’t tested with vegan butter.
- Vanilla extract- Adds flavor to the crust. I recommend pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Golden syrup– A British sweetener made from sugar, corn syrup, and water. It gives the filling its signature flavor and sweetness. If you don’t have any golden syrup you can try substituting maple syrup, honey, or corn syrup but the taste may change.
- Heavy whipping cream– Adds richness and creaminess to the filling.
- Breadcrumbs– Help to thicken the filling and give it a crumbly texture. Avoid using flavored breadcrumbs, as they can overpower the other flavors in the tart.
- Lemon zest– Adds flavor and brightness to the filling. Use fresh lemon zest for the best results. If you don’t have a lemon zester, you can use a fine grater.
- Lemon juice– Adds tartness and acidity to the filling. Use fresh lemon juice for the best results. If you don’t have a lemon juicer, you can squeeze the juice from lemons by hand.
- Egg– Helps to bind the filling together. The egg should be at room temperature before using.
- Powdered sugar– For dusting on top of the tart before serving. Use confectioners’ sugar for the best results.
How to Make This Treacle Tart Recipe
Preheat oven and prepare tart pan.
Position a rack in the center of oven. Preheat the oven to 375oF (190oC). Place 9” tart pan onto a large baking sheet (I find this easier to transfer to the oven this way).
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Beat in butter and vanilla.
Beat in vanilla and softened butter until mixture is well combined. Mixture should have a crumbly texture.
Press crust into tart pan.
Dump crust mixture into 9” tart pan. Using your hands or bottom of a measuring cup pack the crust into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Combine ingredients in saucepan.
Add to a medium saucepan the golden syrup, heavy whipping cream, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Bring to a gentle boil on medium high heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Mixture will thicken slightly as it cools.
Pour filling into crust.
Pour mixture into your shortbread crust and place into your preheated oven.
Bake treacle tart.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until your filling has nicely browned and crust has a nice, golden color.
Cool tart and dust with powdered sugar.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove from tart pan, dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!
- Stir constantly. When making the filling, so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
- Don’t overcook the filling. The filling should be golden brown and set, but not dry.
- Let the tart cool completely before serving. This will help the filling set and prevent it from being runny.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. The tart is delicious with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
- Add some spices to the filling. Some popular spices to add to a treacle tart recipe include cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Top the tart with some fresh fruit. Some fresh fruits that would be delicious on top of treacle tart include raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries.
- Make a treacle tart tartlet. To make a treacle tart tartlet or mini tarts, simply use a smaller tart pan and reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
- Make a treacle tart crumble. To make a treacle tart crumble, simply top the tart with a mixture of oats, flour, sugar, and butter. Bake the tart for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown.
If you don’t have any golden syrup you can try substituting maple syrup, honey, or corn syrup but the taste may change. However, the flavor of this homemade treacle tart will be slightly different. Honey is a great 1:1 substitute. Corn syrup will not yield the same results. And maple syrup may make the filling a bit thinner.
Yes, you can make the tart one day ahead of time. I would not dust with powdered sugar until right before serving or it will melt on top. And you can store leftovers up to 4 days at room temperature in an airtight container. The crust will soften slightly each day.
This tart doesn’t freeze well. I do not recommend freezing it.
More Recipes to Try
- 1 ½ cup (180 g) all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- ⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup (11 ounces) golden syrup
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (112 g) breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 large egg room temperature
- Powdered sugar dusted on top before serving
- Position a rack in the center of oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place 9” tart pan onto a large baking sheet (I find this easier to transfer to the oven this way).
- Beat in vanilla and softened butter until mixture is well combined. Mixture should have a crumbly texture.
- Dump crust mixture into 9” tart pan. Using your hands or bottom of a measuring cup pack the crust into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Add to a medium saucepan the golden syrup, heavy whipping cream, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg.
- Bring to a gentle boil on medium high heat, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Mixture will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Pour mixture into your shortbread crust and place into your preheated oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until your filling has nicely browned and crust has a nice, golden color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove from tart pan, dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!
- Make ahead/storage: You can make the tart 1 day ahead otherwise filling and crust will soften too much. Store at room temperature up to 4 days in an airtight container, the crust will soften slightly each day.
- Golden syrup substitutes: You can use honey as 1:1 substitute. Light or dark corn syrup can work but will not yield same flavor. Maple syrup can work as a 1:1 although filling may be a bit thinner.
- Freezing: I do not recommend freezing this treacle tart. The Tart doesn’t freeze well.