Thursday, 19 July 2012

Treacle tart

I mean, what the fucking fuck do you call this??!


I have for a long time thought that treacle tart is a thing I ought to be able to make, but I have always been scared off by this "baking blind" instruction.

That's that thing, that I'm sure you're all terribly familiar with and do it all the time, (in the evenings and weekends just for a laugh), where you roll out your pastry into a tin and then cover it with ceramic beads or beans and cook it before the filling goes in and then cook it again with the filling in it. A more pointless, time-wasty and stupid instruction I've rarely seen and so have always avoided it.

But tonight we've got some nice people coming round for dinner so I thought I'd break my baking blind, treacle tart duck and do it because the alternative is to cower in darkness - and that's only hilarious for so long.

So off I went to Waitrose brmm brmm in my little car, and got some sweet pastry and a tin of golden syrup and some creme fraiche to go with it and came back and blithely stumbled into the worst and most useless recipe for anything I've ever cooked, ever. Except for that gumbo, remember that?

GARY RHODES I HATE YOU.

Just bad. Bad and wrong and unhelpful and stupid and ill and presumptuous and irresponsible. While the tart was doing its final cook in the oven I sat down for a bit with Waitrose Kitchen and had a flick through and alighted on a Fergus Henderson recipe for treacle tart that was far more detailed, complex and basically entirely different from the Rhodes recipe.

I experienced a terrible bumrush, of the sort you get when you turn over an exam paper and realise that you have spent the last week revising for a different, wrong module, or that the person you have just been massively bitching up is within earshot, or that your period is three weeks late.

I knew then. I knew in that moment that my tart was a bummer. And so it was. I can't be bothered to start listing the catclysmic death roll-call of things wrong with it, but let's just say that the BEST thing about it is that sides are burnt to shit.

FUCK! What a waste of my time! I could have been doing loads of other things! I could have been asleep.

I have nothing else to add. There is no nice ending to this story.

27 comments:

  1. Rhodes puts far too much sugar in everything anyway.

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  2. Urg, Gary Rhodes. That should have been hint enough that it wouldn't work. His recipes are just wrong - I knew this the day I saw him cook a cauliflower WHOLE while pretending it would all cook evenly. No.
    But don't give up on the blind baking, it's easy and worth it. Just try lemon tart instead, MUCH better than treacle.

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  3. The Mary Berry Aga Cookbook (which makes me sound 110 yrs old) has a wonderful receipe for treacle tart which is impossible to screw up and which doesn't require blind baking, which sounds terrifying.

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  4. I am sorry to laugh at your misfortune but your post was hysterical. I now buy ready made tart cases because, while I know I can make them and am perfectly capable, I've got better things to do with my time. Like sitting.

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  5. three posts in three days! hurrah!!

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  6. There is a reason why Golden Syrup only even exists in Britain. I grew up loving it but now think it tastes of the tin and have turned into a snob, sadly. I am waffling, I can't believe you have blogged three days running and wanted to say thank you.

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  7. Esther, I actually love you. Every time I see you've posted something I grin. And then I cackle at what you've written. It is ALWAYS brilliant.

    Ok, gushing over now. How embarrassing (for us both). Sorry about that.

    (But I do particularly love you've posted 3 times this week. I think this should be a permanent routine. Whaddya say?)

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  8. I agree with Katy no posts for ages then three consecutively I love it! :) and FYI asan baked salmon yesterday was amazing

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  9. There is something about Gary Rhodes that is seriously unappetising so snaps to you for even going near his cookbook!

    I know you don't *love* her but Nigella's treacle tart is fab (with shop bought pastry, OBV)

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  10. Esther, I love you.

    This newly prolific posting is getting me through some early morning boobfeeding sessions.Yay and continue!

    That is all.

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  11. I can't offer Treacle Tart recipe suggestions, but the only recommendation I would give for blind baking is to always remember to put baking parchment or grease-proof paper between the ceramic balls and the pastry. Otherwise you end up, as I did once, with a set of round impressions all over the pastry as it bakes. Plus it is a devil of a job to get them out of the pastry.

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  12. You are so preggers <3 big break in posting then suddenly prolific...I remember last time round lady! I eagerly await announcement ;) (I'm sorry, I am congenitally incapable of avoiding smilies.)

    Stephanie

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  13. Golden syrup in Australia comes in a squeezy bottle so doesn't taste of tin. Life is too short to blind bake - buy a ready made tart case and fib that you made it or cook a self saucing pudding instead - delicious! Our current favourite is pecan or walnut and golden syrup.

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  14. Leah is right. Nigella's recipe is a complete winner. Take that, Rhodes.

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  15. Very funny. I could give you lots of advice about how to make a foolproof treacle tart but that would be infuriating and make you want to punch me. Quite rightly I might add.

    Instead may I suggest you over stuff your guests with their main course and ignore pudding entirely?

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  16. Mmm. Could it be that the most telling statement in your post is "...that your period is three weeks late"?

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  17. Esther, preparing the treacle tart has always been a mission impossible for me, so that is why I gave up on it, long time ago:) But your post and recollection of your turmoils with it, just made my day and I can only tell you that you rock and pleasee keep us posted:) Happy weekend!

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  18. Hhhhhahahahahahahah! THIS IS SOOOOO FUNNNYYYYY!!!! BEST PHOTO DESCRIPTION EVER!

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  19. post every day forever!!! please. xxx

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  20. Esther I would like to know how old you are now and how old you were when you had Kitty? I am trying to decide when to have baby and would be interested to know

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    1. I am 32. I had Kitty when I was 30.

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  21. Esther, Esther, come down to Cornwall and do a course at Rick Stein's cookery school, it will a) help you with your hatred of fish and b) he does have a great recipe for treacle tart, which is easy, even I can do it and I'm a crap puddings cook!

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  22. I can't take the piss as I haven't tried baking a treacle tart...but thanks very much for the laughs! Best photo caption EVER!

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  23. Hello. I remember making something from a Gary Rhodes cookbook when I was pg with child no.1. It took all day. I am no stranger to baking. But with this, my arches had collapsed by the time I'd finished it. In the end I couldn't imagine what would be worse: that it was so good I'd be tempted to make it again, or that it was a failure.

    It was glorious. But I wasn't tempted to make it again. Not long after that Rhodes bought out a book called "Gary Rhodes made simple", which I think was needed.

    I have never made treacle tart because eating it makes me feel claustrophobic and like I can't breathe. But I must pass on my top pastry tip to you for when you're doing something like a pastry case and need to bake blind: never bother with rolling it out. Once you've rested it, just take off clumps and with cold hands, working quickly, push it into the tin until the bottom and sides are covered. Prick with a fork or other stabby device, then rest again for a bit before you bake it blind.

    x

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  24. Oh Esther, I've never been brave enough to blog a recipe that's gone badly wrong! I wish I was, you learn more from cockups than things that have gone well.

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  25. Golden syrup....mmmmm. How can ANYTHING be bad with golden syrup. Cardboard and golden syrup tastes good.
    Also, we have not heard from your editor at large for a while. Is she still in post?
    xx

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