Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness isn’t the only one finding herself surrounded by engaged or pregnant friends. Maybe it’s something in the air, but one of my dear friends Jaci recently got engaged (with a beautiful ring her now-fiance had specially designed to withstand the trials and tribulations of kitchen life), and two other friends are expecting babies in June.
So it won’t be long now before we’ll travel up to Newcastle for Bec’s babyshower. Funnily enough, none of us knew what a babyshower entailed exactly, since Bec is the first amongst us to have a baby. Some of the questions posed during the party planning were, “When exactly during the pregnancy does the party get held?” and, “Isn’t Bec supposed to throw the shower?”. I was equally mystified when S had a “kitchen tea” in the leadup to her wedding, several years ago.
I like the idea of having sweet treats at a baby or bridal shower. Little cupcakes iced in pastel shades, variations on the poppyseed muffin and chocolate brownies, for example, or my contribution to Stephanie’s Blog Party : mini treacle tarts. Moist and chewy mouthfuls with that warm comforting scent of golden syrup; they are easy to make especially if you already have the pastry at hand.
And I know Jaci would approve of these tarts. The recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay. Or our Gordon, as we used to call him. When Jaci and I worked together, Just Desserts, Stephanie’s Cooks Companion and Christine Manfield’s Desserts books were like bibles to us. Some of the books might seem a bit dated now, but the recipes are still as solid as ever. I like recipes that work on the first go, with results so good you’re not tempted to tweak them at all, and this one for a treacle tart mix is no exception.
The perfect accompaniment to this tart is of course (spoonfuls of vanilla ice-cream notwithstanding) a cup of freshly brewed tea.
Treacle Tart filling :
(enough for one large tart or 24 mini-muffin sized tarts)
300g golden syrup
85g fresh white breadcrumbs
60g ground almonds
1 large free-range egg, beaten
150ml double cream
about 4 tablespoons apricot jam, slightly warmed
Put the golden syrup, breadcrumbs, ground almonds, egg and cream in a food processor and whizz until smooth. For best results, chill this filling for 24 hours.
To bake, spoon some jam into the bottom of each pastry-lined tart shell. Spoon or pipe in the chilled filling, 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 10 minutes at 180’C, then lower the heat to 150’C and bake for a further 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes before lifting each tart out to cool completely on a wire rack.