Cooking

Treacle Tart (gluten-free, vegan)

I’ve been craving that great British dessert, treacle tart, for a while and this weekend I finally got round to making (a gluten-free and vegan) one. It was worth the wait.

This tart is treacly, dense and chewy with a buttery, flaky crust. It’s everything treacle tart should be. Comfort food at it’s finest.

We’ve had a bit of a rough week what with Coronavirus and everything, so a big slice of this terrifically sweet, definitely not healthy in any way treacle tart was exactly what I needed.

Now, the vast amounts of golden syrup required for this recipe might alarm you. That’s perfectly normal. It alarms me. But trust me, this pudding needs it. If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, you need to find a different dessert. This tart is a special treat!

Incidentally, this pastry is my go-to shortcrust pastry. I usually use 100g vegetable shortening, but using half butter for a dessert makes it slightly more luxurious. It rolls out really well and is beautifully flaky. If using it to cover a pie, it needs a good 45 minutes at 200ºc/400ºF, ideally using an aquafaba egg wash to brush the pastry after 15 minutes for a lovely golden colour.

Makes one 10” tart.

Ingredients:

Pastry

200g gluten-free flour blend (I use Sarah Bakes Gluten Free)
50g vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
50g vegetable shortening

Filling

675g golden syrup (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
200g Scotch oatmeal (in the UK it’s usually just called oatmeal – it’s different to porridge oats)
75g quick-cooking porridge oats (not jumbo/old-fashioned oats)
the zest of an orange and the juice of half an orange
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

First make the pastry. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the butter and shortening. Use a fork to mash the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add 4 tbsp water and bring the dough together with your hands. Add a little more water if necessary. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky.

Form the dough into a thick disc and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 200ºc/400ºF and put a baking tray in the oven, then make the filling.

Put the golden syrup into a medium saucepan and heat gently. Once warm, turn off the heat and add the oatmeal, oats, zest and juice. Stir well to combine.

When the pastry has finished chilling, roll it out between two silicone sheets or two sheets of grease proof paper into a circle a little larger than your pie dish about 3mm thick.

Carefully peel off the top sheet and use your rolling pin to transfer the pastry to the pie dish without removing the bottom silicone/grease proof sheet. You need to gently fold the pastry in half over the rolling pin, then lift the rolling pin and pastry and unroll the pastry over the dish. (Watch this video for an idea of what I mean.) There’s a definite knack to doing this, it gets easier with practice!

Once your pastry is on top of the pie dish, work quickly and carefully to remove the sheet and then push the pastry down into the dish so that it covers the base and sides. Use offcuts to patch up any holes and don’t worry about them. It’ll still taste great!

Once your pastry is in the tin, pour in the filling.

Pop the tart on to the pre-heated baking tray and cook for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180ºc/350ºF and bake for a further 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes. The tart is done when the filling is just set.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving with (dairy-free) custard, cream or ice cream.

Adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe in the Guardian.

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