This recipe comes from Grandma’s grandmother and brightened what always seemed to Grandma long, chilly visits when the grownups spent too much time talking among themselves. The great treat was treacle tart filled with lemon-flavored golden syrup and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a rarity in those far off days of the late 1940s. For her flaky pie pastry, Grandma used lard, but shortening or more butter can be substituted – the baking powder makes it even more crumbly. Treacle tart should be thin like a pizza and is baked in the same way on a thin flat pan. Honey can be substituted for the golden syrup, while grated lemon zest and juice cut the sweetness. It’s best to weigh the golden syrup, tablespoonfuls are inaccurate as the syrup is so sticky.
6 ½ oz/200 g golden syrup
1 medium slice/50 g white bread
Grated rind and juice of ½ lemon
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
For the pie puff pastry
1 ½ cups/200g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons/60 g butter, more for the plate
4 tablespoons/60 g lard
2 tablespoons water, more if needed
10-inch/25-cm ovenproof pizza plate or pie pan
1. For the pie pastry: sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter and lard in small cubes and add to the flour. Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips to form crumbs. Using a fork, stir in the water to make rough, sticky crumbs, adding more water if necessary. Press the dough together with your fist to make a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and set it aside.
2. Set a shelf in the center of the oven and heat it to 190ºC/375ºF; butter the pizza plate. To make breadcrumbs, cut the bread in cubes and freeze them 15-20 minutes. Grind them to crumbs in a processor. For the filling: measure the golden syrup into a small bowl, then stir in the lemon rind and juice, followed by the crumbs.
3. To assemble the tart: cut off and set aside about a quarter of the pastry dough. Roll out the rest on a floured board to a 10-inch/25-cm round and line the plate with it. Trim the edge, leaving a small overlap. Roll out the remaining dough with the trimmings to a long strip and cut it in ¾-inch/2-cm wide ribbons. Pour the filling into the pastry shell and lay a lattice of pastry ribbons over the filling. Bake the tart in the oven until the pastry and filling are browned, 30-35 minutes. Serve warm, topping each serving with a scoop of ice cream.