As it turns out, the Boy Who Lived has pretty good taste.
I’ve spent an unreasonable amount of my life reading the Harry Potter series. I’ve wasted almost as much time watching the movies. But it wasn’t until my most recent read-through that I asked myself, “What the heck is a Treacle Tart?”
The dessert is mentioned quite a few times over the course of the series.
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Harry likes the treat so much he smells it when confronted with Amortentia, a love potion that smells like whatever its intended subject finds most appealing: “Somehow it reminded him simultaneously of treacle tart, the woody smell of a broomstick handle, and something flowery he thought he might have smelled at the Burrow,” J.K. Rowling writes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
I suppose it was characteristically American of me to have never heard of Treacle Tart—I wasn’t even sure that this dessert wasn’t a magical invention of J.K. Rowling’s.
Treacle Tart is, in fact, an extremely popular British dessert. Treacle, also known as golden syrup, is a common sweetener in England made from molasses, corn syrup and sugar.
The Tart, essentially a pie, is traditionally prepared using shortcrust pastry, with a thick filling made of treacle, breadcrumbs and lemon zest. The classic formula is remarkably simple to execute, as you simply heat the syrup on the stovetop, then stir in breadcrumbs to thicken and lemon zest to balance the intense sugary sweetness. You’ll pour this golden filling into your prepared crust and bake it into a thing of beauty.
If you’ve ever wondered what dessert is like at a Hogwarts’ feast, and I know you have, try making this decadent dessert yourself: We recommend this recipe, by Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off.
We hope you find the result simply magical.