Thyme & Orange Treacle Tart
This classic treacle tart recipe comes from chef, food writer and Soil Association ambassador Gill Meller. Inspired by tales of his grandfather's history in Weymouth, Dorset, Gill says:
"My grandfather, Digby helped to man a fort, which looked out over Portland Harbour, then home to an important Royal Navy base. The fort was heavily armoured and had big guns. Should any threat approach, Digby would be ready. Now... stories can change with time, but I was told that when a fleet of German bombers flew over the fort, Digby and his men were in a local tea room, eating treacle tart."
Photo credit: Andrew Montgomery
- 725g (1lb 91/2oz) golden syrup
- 1 egg
- 50ml (2fl oz) double cream
- 50g (2oz) unsalted butter
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, chopped, plus an extra thyme sprig, to decorate
- 200g (7oz) white breadcrumbs
For the pastry
- 45g (11/2oz) icing sugar
- 170g (6oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 85g (3oz) butter, cubed and chilled, plus extra for greasing
- 1 tablespoon iced water
- 1 egg, plus an extra beaten egg for egg washing
First, make the pastry. Combine the icing sugar and plain flour in a medium bowl. Rub in the chilled butter cubes until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can also do this in a food processor). Add in the iced water and the egg, and stir through to combine.
Tip out the dough and bring it together with your hands, kneading lightly to achieve a smooth finish. Wrap the pastry tightly in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until it is about 2mm (1⁄16in) thick. Grease and flour a 3cm-deep (11/4in) x 22cm (8 1/2in) loose-bottomed tart tin, then lay over the pastry, tucking it into the corners and leaving an overhang. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans.
Blind bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then remove the paper and beans, trim the overhang and brush the pastry with beaten egg. Return to the oven for 10 minutes, until the base is just colouring. Remove and set aside, but leave the oven on.
To make the filling, pour the golden syrup into a medium pan set over a low heat. Whisk the egg and cream together in a bowl. When the syrup is hot, but not boiling, stir in the butter and allow it to melt.
Then, stir in the orange zest, chopped thyme, breadcrumbs, and the cream and egg mixture. Take the pan off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes, to allow the breadcrumbs to take up the syrup.
Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for 35–40 minutes, until just set and golden brown around the edges.
Leave to cool in the tin for 15–20 minutes before transferring to a serving plate, decorating with a thyme sprig and bringing to the table.