Vegan Treacle Tart

The most fun thing about featuring recipes from the UK was certainly getting to try all the classic desserts. I've never had a treacle tart before, so was glad to get the opportunity to make one. Actually, it was very easy because the traditional treacle tart recipe is generally already vegan. I wasn't sure if it was going to be sickly sweet, but it actually wasn't that sweet at all. I was really pleasantly surprised. Even though it's full of sticky sweet golden syrup, it's offset by the fact that the pastry isn't sweetened at all and there is lots of lovely fresh lemon juice to cut through the sickliness. The amount of lemon juice you use is really 'to taste' - some people like less lemon juice so the tart is sweeter, some like more juice so it's more sour. This recipe uses quite a lot of lemon juice, but you can add less if you like less tang and more sweetness.

Treacle Tart

250g plain flour (I prefer wholemeal, but you can use either)
125g vegan margarine 
3 tbsp iced water
400g golden syrup
150g fresh breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 2 lemons

To Make
1. Put the flour in a food processor and cut in the margarine. Pulse it until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this without a food processor - just put the flour in a bowl and rub the margarine through with your fingertips. Gradually add in the iced water until the mixture clumps together. Test the consistency, it should be a firm dough, but not sticky when you touch it. If it's too crumbly to form a ball, add a little more water, if it's too sticky add a little more flour. 
2. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (you can also make the pastry the night before). In the meantime, grease your flan tin (one with a removable bottom is really easiest) well. 
3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and put a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
4. Set aside about 150g of the pastry to make the lattice. Roll out the rest of the pastry into a large thin disc and line the greased flan tin. Prick the base with a fork to prevent bubbles while cooking. 
5. To make the filling, heat the golden syrup in a saucepan until runny. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice and lemon zest and remove from the heat. The filling should be fairly thick, if it's too runny - add more breadcrumbs. Pour into the pastry base.
6. Roll out the reserved pastry and cut into thin strips to make the lattice top. Once the lattice is complete, trim off any overhanging edges by pressing them down on the side of the metal tin. 
7. Place in the oven on the preheated baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180 degrees C and cook for a further 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, to firm up and to allow the filling to cool a bit. 

Serve warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped coconut cream if you like. 

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