For my first blog as the anarchic kitchen I felt I should start with my favourite pudding – treacle tart. It is a two stage process, but once you have mastered the basics of pastry, with the cling film trick to make it easier, then this is a really quick and impressive pudding. Anyone with a sweet tooth will struggle not to be impressed. This is also not a set recipe, you can mess about with the filling. You can make it rustic by coarsely chopping the bread, add cinnamon or other spices, orange zest, lots of black treacle to add a bitter sweet flavour. This is how cooking should be – flexible, inspirational and imaginative – play with the ingredients and the flavours and taste your results. You will need a 20cm flan or tart dish for this. And like all the recipes, this should be achievable without scales, just a keen eye and tasting along the way. The purspose of the blog is not to learn to follow my recipes like a scientific experiment, but to learn the skills to be able to experiement with your ingredients and flavours.
Pastry First – Sweet and Short
1 pack of butter (250g)
1 small bag of plain flour (500g)
Just under half a small bag of sugar (220g)
Put all the ingredients in a food processor, make sure it is all mixing, then when it comes together stop. Put it on a board and just kneed it until it comes together. Cut in half, wrap each half in cling film. Fridge one for at least an hour, freeze the other for another time.
Turn the oven onto 180 Degree C.
Rolling the pastry (the cling film trick)
Take cling film put it on a surface, make it larger than the tart dish double sided. Work the pastry a little in your hands to make it an even round. Put the pastry in the middle of the cling film. Put cling film on top, same size again. Then roll the pastry between the cling film. Don’t flour the cling film, this stops the trick working. Once it is to size (an inch larger than the dish all round), take off the top cling film. Put the middle of the pastry open side down in the tart dish and gently push it into the sides. There should be overhang of pastry all round (this is good). Take the cling film off the top of the pastry carefully and then fold the overhanging sides down. Check for any tears and fix them with extra pastry (cut off bits, etc.). Prick it round with a fork. Put it is the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Bake it blind
Take the pastry out of the fridge, get some baking parchment and put it in the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake it in the oven for 10 minutes (until the sides are beginning to colour light brown). Then take out the beans and bake for another 10 minutes until it is crisp. Then get an egg yolk and a dash of milk, mix together and paint onto the pastry. Bake for 2 minutes to seal the pastry.
Make the filling
6 slices thick white bread
1/2 cup of granola / oats
2 small pots of golden syrup
1 Lemon juiced
1/2 tablespoon black treacle
3 tablespoons of Double Cream
6 slices of white bread (the staler the better). Take off the crusts, put in a food processor and blend until fairly small even breadcrumbs. Roast the crumbs in the oven for 10 minutes (golden toasty bits add flavour. If using oats, roast them in the oven for 10 minutes. Then mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour into the pastry. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until it feels just the wrong side of set (still a little bit liquid in the middle). Take it out of the oven.
Let it cool completely this sets it.
Serve hot or cold.
A Christmas version can has half a jar of mincemeat added to the mixture.
Lime and a pinch of nutmeg work well