You guys, this is the first drama free tart/pie dough experience I’ve had. It rolled easily, didn’t tear when I transferred it to the dish and baked up into beautiful, flaky perfection. Life goals done!
Should probably be focussing on the filling though, no? This is a molasses tart, spiced with ginger and cinnamon, for a festive, Christmas-y dessert. It is surprisingly not too sweet and has a sticky, chewy kind of consistency that is so addictive!
I had set out to make a treacle tart as a nod to my Enid Blyton/Harry Potter obsession but most bakers online said treacle is made from golden syrup. I didn’t have that and it’s fairly expensive to buy in India, but I did have molasses on hand. This recipe from Saveur said the word ‘treacle’ is used for a number of things in this sugar syrup area. So, I don’t know whether I can legitimately call this a treacle tart but I can say it’s really, really delicious!
I added extra ginger and lemon juice, along with a little cinnamon and vanilla. Without these additions, I felt the filling was too sweet and tasted eggy. The egg helps thicken it along with breadcrumbs but I also saw this recipe that skips the egg entirely if that’s something you prefer.
The scraps from the pie dough turned into little stars that I placed on top for some extra flair and it was seriously the most fun thing to do! The molasses turns into an almost candy like concoction with a slight crisp and chew with a flavour that reminded me of jaggery. This tart is all kinds of mysterious!
A little bit of cream goes great with a slice of this tart, trust me! The one thing to watch for is that because the filling takes a while to bake, the edges of the tart might get extra brown. I don’t really mind this but if you have a pie shield use it, or simply cover the dish loosely with foil as the filling bakes.
This is a fairly straightforward recipe and it freezes great in case you’re getting a head start on your Christmas baking! Let me know how you like it 🙂
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt (skip if using salted butter)
- 115 gms unsalted butter, cold and cubed (1/2 cup)
- ¼ cup ice water
- 1 cup dark molasses (I use Grandma's brand)
- 6 tbsp bread crumbs
- 3 tbsp cream
- Juice of 1 small lemon (1 to 2 tbsps)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Whipped cream, to serve
- In a mixing bowl, stir the flour and salt together, then add the cubed butter. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs and there pea-sized bits of butter scattered through it.
- Slowly add the ice water and stir with a spatula to combine, then use your hands to bring it together in a soft dough. Place the dough on a large piece of clingfilm, flatten into a disc, wrap tightly and refrigerate for one hour.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, unwrap and place on a silicone mat. (You can also do this on a floured kitchen counter, but I prefer the mat to prevent sticking.)
- Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll out into a 10 to 11 inch circle. I like to do this with clingfilm on top because I find that in warmer temperatures, this prevents the butter from melting onto the rolling pin and making the dough messy.
- Transfer the rolled out dough back to the fridge for 10 minutes, keeping the top covered with clingfilm. (This is also where the silicone mat comes in handy, you can easily slide it onto a tray with the dough and place it in the fridge.)
- Keep a 9" pie dish ready. To place the rolled out dough in the dish, either fold it into a quarter shape and unfold it in the dish, or do what I did and gently flip the silicone mat directly over the dish. Peel it off slowly and gently press the dough into the dish and onto the sides. Trim the edges and use the scraps to patch up any bits that may have broken.
- Transfer the pie dish to the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190 C.
- Prick the base of the dough with a fork several times. You will 'blind bake' the crust now so pricking it helps prevent the base from puffing up too much. You can also blind bake it by placing a piece of baking paper on the dough and filling it up with dried beans to weigh the dough down, but I didn't find this necessary.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is lightly browned on the bottom and the edges.Set aside to cool while you make the filling. Keep the oven on.
- To make the filling, heat the molasses on low heat for a minute until it becomes fairly runny. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cream which will help cool it. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon. Stir, then pour in the beaten egg.
- Mix well, then pour the filling into the crust. It won't fill it up completely but will rise a little as it bakes.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the filling feels set in the middle and doesn't wobble. If you would like to use the leftover scraps to make a little decoration, roll them out, cut into desired shapes and keep chilled while the tart bakes. Place them on the filling in the last 15 minutes of baking, because they will sink into the filling if placed on top in the beginning.
- if you feel the tart edges are browning too much, cover the dish loosely with foil or use a pie shield if you have one.
- Allow the tart to cool for about an hour, then slice and serve with whipped cream. It also tastes great chilled! You can refrigerate the tart for about a week or freeze for about a month. Happy baking!
*There is a BBC Food recipe linked in the post above that has a filling without eggs.