Treacle Tart is delicious, sweet, and very rich. It is surprisingly easy to make. It has a custard-like soft and caramel filling and delicious pastry. It is Harry Potter’s favourite dessert and it’ll become yours also.
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I want to acknowledge that there’s a controversy in regards to J.K. Rowling. I’m not going to comment on that. However, I very strongly believe that her works can (and should) be treated completely separately from her. There’s no need to not enjoy Harry Potter and the wonderful and magical world that was created. If you’d like to skip my musings and go directly to the recipe, click Jump to Recipe.
I love, love, love Harry Potter series and I am not ashamed to admit it. There’s something about this universe that J.K. Rowling created that captured my mind and my heart.
I still remember the first time I was introduced to the world of Harry Potter in 2001. My boyfriend at the time and I went to the movies to see the first film. That was before all the social media, IMDB, smartphones, and the widespread use of Internet. I knew exactly nothing about the movie.
I lost myself during that viewing: from the moment the music started and until the last scene on the train, I was somewhere else. I remember thinking to myself: “I don’t want this movie to ever end. I don’t want it to end.” That obsession never ended for me.
I didn’t know that the movie was based on the books. I didn’t even know there would be more films. A year later, my heart was skipping a beat waiting to see the second movie in the theatre. And yes, I was already in my 20s when the movies came out.
The magic pulled me in and now, 20 years later, I am still a big Harry Potter fan. I read and listened to the books numerous times. I react to all the adventures differently depending on where I am in life.
In my late-20s, just as my previous relationship was breaking up, I cried when Snape’s true nature and love for Lily was revealed. In my mid-30s, while cradling my newborn daughter, I cried as Molly cried over the body of her son, Fred.
Yet, I only read the series for the first time just as the last book was published. I was surprised that the food was actually a prominent subject in the books. Starting from the first time when Harry met Hagrid and they had sizzling, plump, juicy, and slightly burnt sausages. To all the descriptions of Hogwarts feasts.
“He had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, chips, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup and, for some strange reason, mint humbugs.” – J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
And then there are desserts.
“When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food faded from the plates leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment later the puddings appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclair and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding…” – J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
I am not too familiar with British cuisine, so the first time I read about Treacle Tart I didn’t think too much about it. But it is Harry’s favourite dessert and when I saw a recipe for a Treacle Tart in one of my books (Caramel by Trish Deseine), I knew I had to try it.
It’s been over a decade since I made Treacle Tart for the first time. Since then, I heavily changed the recipe to my taste. I used completely different dough. I also changed the filling a bit. I don’t make this tart often, as it is really rich but it is a wonderful treat for tea. Especially when it’s gloomy outside.
Ingredients to make Harry Potter’s Favourite Treacle Tart
For the dough
- Butter (room temperature)
- Sour cream
- Egg yolk
For the filling
- Golden syrup (main ingredient, see the question and answer section for substitutions)
- Maple syrup
How to make Treacle Tart
It may sound complicated but it actually isn’t. I updated the dough to be really easy, so you just mix everything together. The filling also comes together in a matter of minutes.
- Make the dough. I didn’t want to use the traditional pie dough with cold butter, as it requires some finesse. Instead, the dough is super easy to make. Just combine all the wet ingredients with a mixer, add the flour, and mix. You’ll end up with slightly crumbly mess and that’s exactly what you want.
- Press the dough into the tart form. You may need to dust your hands and fingers with a bit of flour. Then just press all the crumbly dough pieces into the form and up to the sides. Transfer the form to the fridge while you are making the Treacle Filling.
- Make the treacle filling. Heat up the golden syrup, maple syrup, and butter just until the butter melts. No need to make it simmer or bubble. Add the cream and mix. Add the eggs and whisk really (I mean really!!!) well! You don’t want any pieces of egg whites not not be incorporated into the mixture, otherwise they’ll scramble in the oven.
- Pour the filling into the prepared tart form with the dough. Important: place the tart form onto another baking sheet, otherwise, if the form has a removable bottom, the butter will leak from it and dirty the oven.
Questions and answers about Treacle Tart
What is Golden Syrup?
Golden Syrup is actually where the Treacle Tart gets its name. It is a Light Treacle. It is basically a caramel-coloured sugar syrup. You can read a lot more about it.
Where can I buy Golden Syrup?
Lyle’s Golden Syrup is the most famous brand. You can buy it on Amazon. In Canada, it is often sold in small independent stores or farmers market kiosks that carry UK-based products. I have even seen it at Bulk Barn.
Can I substitute Golden Syrup with something?
I use half Golden Syrup and half Maple Syrup usually. You most likely could use all maple syrup but note that the flavour will be very intensely maple. Still delicious, but not really Treacle Tart. More like a Maple Tart.
You could also use Corn Syrup but I’m not a big fan of corn syrup flavour, so I can’t attest to how it’ll turn out.
Can I omit ricotta and sour cream in the dough?
Yes, you can use all butter, just replace the ricotta and sour cream with the equal amount of butter. I like using ricotta and sour cream to lighten up the dough. Ricotta makes it a bit softer. Also, a bit (tiny bit) healthier.
More dessert tart recipes:
Treacle Tart (Harry Potter's Favourite Dessert)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons ricotta
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar (*see note)
- 1 1/4 cup flour (about 170g)
- 1/3 cup Golden Syrup
- 1/3 cup Maple Syrup (**see note)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup cream (35% preferred but could go as low as 10% cream, ***see note)
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the flour and mix well with a hand-held mixer until very well mixed and fluffy.
- Add the flour and mix with a spatula. It'll be quite crumbly.
- Transfer all the crumbly dough to the tart pan.
- Dip your fingers in some flour and gently press the dough into the pan and up the sides to make it all uniform.
- Place the pan into the fridge while getting the filling for the Treact Tart ready.
- Combine both syrups and butter in a small sauce pan.
- Gently heat the syrups over medium heat just until the butter dissolves. No need to bring to simmer or even get the bubbles. Remove from heat.
- Add the cream and whisk. Check that the mixture isn't hot.
- Add the eggs and whisk really well until the eggs are fully incorporated and there are no pieces of egg whites. If the egg whites aren't mixed in well, then they'll scramble in the oven.
Make Treacle Tart
- Get the prepared tart pan with the dough out of the fridge. Important: if you are using a pan with a removable bottom, then you'll want to place it on a sheet pan lined with some parchment paper or foil. The butter in the dough will most likely leak from the tart pan and it's better to catch it on the sheet pan than for it to drip onto the bottom of the oven.
- Pour the treacle filling onto the dough in the pan.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the filling is cooked and set.
- Cool and enjoy.
- Dough has almost no sugar as the filling is really sweet. If you'd like sweeter dough, you can add 2-3 more tablespoons of sugar.
- As mentioned in the post, you can use all Golden Syrup (2/3 cup total) or all Maple Syrup.
- I find that 35% cream makes the filling set a bit more whereas 10% cream makes a slightly more jiggly filling. Also, with l0% cream, you may need to bake the tart for a bit longer and with 35% cream, since the filling will be set faster, you may need to bake a bit less.
- I usually bake for 35 minutes but it all depends on your oven.
Mention or tag @Imagelicious
I originally posted this recipe on May 18, 2009. I cringe a bit (a lot) but here are the photos from back then. Haha. Note my clever use of a chopstick to imitate a magic wand.
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