Prior to the 17th century, treacle was used as a medicine; it was considered very good for the blood and was therefore used in antidotes to poisons. It starts cropping up in recipes for gingerbread in the mid-18th century. Jane Grigson mentions a gingerbread recipe from 1420 in her book English Food where spices and breadcrumbs were mixed together with plenty of honey to make a gingerbread that did not have any pastry crust. And although the name implies the tart is made with treacle, from when golden syrup was more readily available, treacle was rarely used.
I always have breadcrumbs in the freezer, the upside of making so much bread. Fresh soft white breadcrumbs are best, but I used a mixture in this case.
90g butter, cold and cut into cubes
1-2 tablespoons of cold water
1 egg (Wash)
2 tablespoons of cream
325g golden syrup
1/4 teaspoon all spice
150g fresh breadcrumbs
First make the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt. Add in the water 1 tablespoon at a time until you see the mixture coming together. Once the pastry has formed into a ball, knead briefly and wrap in cling film and place in the fridge.
Leave the pastry chill for about 30 minutes then roll it out gently to fit an 8″ fluted tart tin. I don’t need to grease the tin as mine is well weathered but if you are using a new or nearly new tin then grease it first. Return the lined tart tin to the fridge to rest while you make the filling. Roll out the leftover pastry into strips to make the lattice on the top of the tart. Lie these on some baking parchment and refrigerate.
Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC, and put a thin baking sheet on the rack. I wouldn’t normally advocate using an extra layer under pastry but in this case IF your filling leaks, you won’t thank me for the sticky mess on the bottom of your oven!
Next heat the butter in a saucepan with the golden syrup until the butter is melted. Stir in the spice, the breadcrumbs and the cream. Remove the tart shell, and the pastry lattice from the fridge and gently spoon the breadcrumb mixture into the tart. Brush the edges of the tart gently with the egg wash and carefully place the lattice on top, pressing into the base to seal.
The filling looks a little mean the size of tart tin, but the filling will expand and also with such a sweet centre, less is most definitely more in this case. Egg wash the whole lattice.
Place the tart on the baking sheet in the oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes. Leave the tart cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then take the tart tin off carefully. Place on a cake plate to cool.
Serve warm of cold with some softly whipped cream. Enjoy the decadence and and nostalgia. Divine.