Mary’s Treacle Tart

Try out this technical baking challenge by Mary Berry. The inviting treacle tart is flavoured with lemon zest and golden syrup, then served with clotted cream.

Introduction

Mary made this classic recipe a Technical Challenge because it’s a real test of pastry-making skills. Take your time over the lattice, cutting the pastry into strips of even width and spacing them evenly over the filling.

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
130g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
About 3 tbsp icy water
1 beaten egg, to glaze
For the filling:
400g golden syrup
About 150g fine, fresh white breadcrumbs
2 large unwaxed lemons, finely grated zest and juice
1 x 18cm deep loose-based flan tin; a baking sheet

Essential kit

You will need a 1 x 18cm deep loose-based flan tin and a baking sheet.

Instructions

To make the pastry, put the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the pieces of butter and rub in using your fingertips until the pastry resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in enough water to bring the ingredients together to make a firm dough. (Or make the pastry in a food-processor.) Wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 20 minutes to making rolling out easier.

Cut off about 150g of the chilled pastry; cover and set aside for the lattice. Roll out the rest of the pastry thinly on a lightly floured worktop and use to line the flan tin. Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork to prevent it from rising up during baking.

Put the reserved pastry onto a sheet of clingfilm, then roll it out to a rectangle about the thickness of a pound coin. Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg, then chill.

To make the filling, gently warm the syrup in a large pan until runny. Take care not to let it boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and lemon zest and juice. If the mixture looks runny, add a few more breadcrumbs (it depends on the type of bread you use). Leave to cool, then pour the mixture into the pastry case and spread evenly.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6, and put the baking sheet into the oven to heat up. Remove the pastry rectangle from the fridge and cut into 10 long strips. Make sure they are all longer than the diameter of the flan tin. Brush the edges of the pastry case with a little beaten egg, then use the strips to make a woven lattice over the filling; let the ends of the strips hang over the sides of the tart.

Trim the ends, then press them onto the pastry rim to create a neat finish. Set the tin on the heated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and bake for a further 25–30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is set. Leave to cool before you remove the tart from the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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