Children this side of the pond grow up woefully ignorant of the wonders of treacle. Our refined sugar byproducts are generally confined to molasses, and our inverted sugar usually takes the form of corn syrup. Little do American sweet teeth know that our British cousins have mastered the procurement, production, and preparation of treacle, the finest of sugar byproducts.
Anyone who’s read the Harry Potter books has wondered or imagined what their ultimate treacle tart would look, smell and taste like. Americans may be familiar with the Pennsylvania Dutch shoo fly pie, which is made with molasses. Treacle tarts are similar in that they are a historically inexpensive recipe that calls for the use of the resultant byproducts of sugar production.
Treacle tarts can be traced back to Ancient Greece, when honey was used to make the filling. Once the refining of sugar began to take off in 17th century, the treacle tart wrapped its sticky fingers round the heart of Britain and never let go. In my house, we love to pair this tart with vanilla ice cream and a good moscato.
Fun fact: “Treacle tart” is Cockney rhyming slang for “sweetheart.”