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Treacle Tart #2

Treacle, as we know it in Britain today, is the sugar syrup first produced as a by-product from sugar
refining and production in the nineteenth century. It soon replaced honey as a cooking ingredient, being sweeter, more convenient, easier to get hold of and cheaper to buy.
Nevertheless, the treacle tart is based on the very earliest tart-making traditions of using honey and stale breadcrumbs. The recipe of this treacle tart is described by Theodora Fitzgibbon as originating in a hotel in Bray-on-Thames in Berkshire. Other variations make great use of lemon zest and lemon juice.
The recipe given here combines the best and simplest of school tarts with just a touch of luxury and sophistication to make it irresistible.

ingredients

serves 10
225 g (8 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
280 g (10 oz) golden syrup (about 6 tablespoons)
175 ml (6 fl oz) double cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten (save a little for brushing on the lattice strips)
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
55 g (2 oz) ground almonds
125 g (4 1/2 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

method

1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a deep 23cm (9 in) tart tin. Pre-bake or bake blind.

2. While the pastry is cooking, roll out any pastry leftovers into narrow strips for the lattice top and keep on a plate in the fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

3. Place the syrup in a pan and heat gently until warm.

4. In a bowl, mix the cream and most of the beaten eggs together, then add the lemon zest and juice and warm syrup and mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, mix together the almonds, breadcrumbs and apple. Make a well in the centre and pour in the syrup mixture. Stir until the mixture is well mixed, then pour into the pre-baked pastry case.

6. Lay the chilled pastry strips across the top of the tart in criss-cross fashion, chopping off and sealing the edges by pinching them together with fingers and thumb.

7. Brush the pastry lattice with the remaining beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm or cold and with vanilla sauce, custard or ice cream.

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