Magical tart from the world of Harry Potter
All photos by Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES
Since last week was the last full week of September, avid readers across the country observed the annual Banned Book Week. This week began in 1982 as a way to bring awareness to books banned from places such as schools, libraries and bookstores.
The Harry Potter series showed up on one of the lists of books banned in certain places in the U.S. and I started thinking about how much those brilliant novels written by J.K. Rowling influenced my childhood.
Hermione exemplified a strong, intelligent girl who was never afraid to seek knowledge and speak out. Harry showed me how to be brave and stand up for my friends. Ron taught me that I could have had a much worse freckle situation. I am positive I would see the world at least a little differently if I had not devoured the pages of those books from second to twelfth grade.
In honor of the books that whetted many a child’s appetite for reading, I decided to provide us with a recipe for the dessert deemed most scrumptious by The Boy Who Lived. After re-reading the series this summer, I noticed that Rowling mentions treacle tart repeatedly. Harry dreams of treacle tart before heading back to Hogwarts, devours it in the dining hall and craves it when searching for Horcruxes. Even Kreacher prepares it for him once the troubled house elf has a change of heart towards Harry while the trio hides out at Grimmauld Place in the final book.
Let us bake and eat treacle tart with the hope that the wonderfully woven tales of Harry Potter can grace bookshelves across the country with its presence. After all, nothing adds a bit of magic to life like reading.
True treacle tart uses golden syrup, a British product only found in specialty shops in the U.S. Molasses and corn syrup provide an adequate substitute, but do have a slightly different flavor. If you procure golden syrup somehow, use it. As golden-syrup-lacking Americans, we can also follow the recipe provided by a kind British gentleman by the name of Chef Todd in this YouTube video I found while writing this article — after I made the tart, of course.
The breadcrumbs should be finely ground, as opposed to large pieces. Grab a baguette or loaf of bread and pull it apart into tiny pieces, then lightly toast in the oven at 375 F for 10 minutes. Then grind the toasted crumbs into even finer bits.
TREACLE TART BARS
8 ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, or 4 ounces, unsalted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 large pinches ground ginger
zest of one lemon, plus 2 tablespoons of the juice
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 metal or glass baking pan with vegetable oil.
Measure the flour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces, no larger than dimes, and add it to the flour. Use your hands to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture has pea-sized pieces of butter in it and looks crumbly. Stir in the beaten egg with a knife until it is completely mixed in and forms a dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of the greased baking pan, working it from the middle out to the edges of the pan to form a thin bottom layer. There should be just enough dough to fit the whole pan with none left over. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Beat one egg in a small mixing bowl. Add the molasses and corn syrup, and whisk both into the egg. Stir in the bread crumbs, ginger, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
Place the crust into the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the crust begin to color slightly. Let cool for 10 minutes, then pour the filling into the baking pan and spread it evenly over the crust. Return the tart to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Let the finished tart cool until it is room temperature. This important step allows the filling to set before cutting into it. Cut the tart into squares to serve and enjoy while reading or watching Harry Potter, of course.