Amateur baker with a passion for eating!
So last week I decided to make treacle tart. I’d seen the great Mary Berry do it on the Great British Bake Off Masterclass, and I was (naïvely) ready for the challenge.
The reason I wanted to make treacle tart in the first place was that it had been the dessert at my grad ball this summer, and my boyfriend had eaten just about everyone else’s portions (because they were too full to finish!) and absolutely loved it. And seeing as he was coming over to mine for Sunday dinner, I thought I’d wow him with my own wonderful treacle tart.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as I’d envisaged…
Once I’d decided to make it, I was set on Mary Berry’s recipe. Obviously. The woman is the Queen of Baking. Her and Hollywood are the Dream Team 😉 Plus, I’d seen it being made, I knew it worked.
But then my mum cracked out all of her recipe books and started searching for different recipes. The problem was that they all seemed to have such different quantities of the same ingredients and I was overwhelmed. Mum recommended I use a recipe in one of her cookbooks, but use Mary Berry’s tips and tricks. So I did…
It all began quite well… I started by mixing up some butter and plain flour in the mixer, until it reached a “fine bread crumb” consistency.
Then I added 3 tablespoons of cold water and carried on mixing until I had a hard dough. So far so good.
I rolled out the dough into a very wonky “circle” until it was thin enough & then I somehow got it into my tin without anything breaking or anyone crying 😉 God knows how! I had quite a bit of dough left over, so we ended up using that for a lovely chicken pie… so at least the dough was good, I guess!
Next, it was on to the filling. I whacked some white bread in the mixer to make breadcrumbs and then mixed this up with some warm, runny golden syrup and the juice of one lemon. It was when I started to spread this weird mixture onto my pastry (which isn’t cooked in advance by the way), that I began to feel that something wasn’t quite right.
Firstly, the filling was super thin and looked a bit ridiculous in my fairly deep pastry tin (which the recipe specifically called f0r…). Secondly, it looked like goopy breadcrumbs. I thought maybe it would transform after a while in the oven. But it just looked like breadcrumbs in pastry. Which is not my idea of an amazing pudding.
I then spent a while googling “treacle tart” and looking at pictures of delicious-looking tarts and bemoaning my own stodgy-looking thing. Then I came across Nigel Slater’s attempt on the Guardian website, which looked pretty similar to my own actually. Eventually, mine started to brown off a bit and it’s similarity to Nigel’s began to make to wonder whether I had been too quick to criticise the aesthetics of the tart, rather than waiting for the most important test, the taste test! The proof of the pudding, as they say…
So on Sunday, with a slightly uneasy feeling, I announced to my boyfriend that we would be having treacle tart for pudding. What I wasn’t expecting was the response I got. He had no idea what treacle tart was, and didn’t even really remember what he ate at the grad ball (I blame the free bubbly!). He remembered eating a lot of it, but nothing more than that. Men = useless 😉 *
That took away some of the pressure to compete with the wonderful dessert at grad ball, however. And thank God for that 😉
My treacle tart was not disgusting. It was rather lemony. Too lemony for my taste really. But it didn’t taste syrupy or treacly at all. It was a bit chewy. The pastry was fine and there was not a soggy bottom to be seen – thanks, Mary for your handy hints!
If I had to some it up in one word, that word would be, “Blah”.
Everyone politely smothered their tart with ice cream and cleaned their plate… And then turned down a second helping 😉
Well, I guess things can’t always go your way. I’m still waiting to prove to my boyfriend that I can actually cook reasonably well, but at least I didn’t give anyone food poisoning!
Unfortunately, we didn’t choose the right recipe. Then again, you never know with recipes until you try them.
I’m not going to put the recipe I did use up, because you don’t want to try it. The finished product wasn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t recommend it either, so I’ll spare you all 🙂
Here’s the great Mary Berry’s recipe, which I plan on making next time (although I plan on reducing the lemon quantities, as I don’t like things to be too lemony, unlike Mary)!
Anyway, on a completely different note, I have been nominated for a couple more awards this week! Luckily neither of them was the “Amazing Treacle Tart Award”, as I may have had to turn that one down 😉
Many, many thanks to The Jenny Mac Book Blog for nominating me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award 😀 Go on, go and have a look at her blog… you know you want to 🙂
And thank you, merci and danke to Chef Randall from Savor the Food for nominating my little blog for the Sunshine Award!! Head over to his blog to find loads of recipes you can “savor” or “savour”, depending on which side of the Pond you come from 😉 Seriously though, recommended reading!
Right now, so I’m off to do something exciting which I couldn’t possibly tell you all about (okay, okay, it’s Christmas and birthday present wrapping…)
I wish you all the best of luck with your last minute present buying and food preparation 🙂
*not really, sorry men for tarring you all with the same brush 🙂