Most treacle tart recipes call for just golden syrup, but we use black treacle and dates here, too, which give a rich, sour depth that works beautifully with the fresh acidity of lemons. Of course you can use shop-bought lemon curd, but it’s much more satisfying, not to mention more delicious, to make your own (see here).
1 quantity sweet Basic shortcrust pastry (see here)
100g dates, pitted
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp (50g) black treacle
4 tbsp (100g) golden syrup
100ml double cream, plus more to serve
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
pinch of sea salt
5 heaped tbsp lemon curd, preferably home-made (see here)
icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3. Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking parchment (see here).
Ease the pastry, still sandwiched between the sheets of baking parchment, into a 20cm, 3.5cm deep sandwich cake tin, pressing it gently into the bottom and leaving some overhanging the edge. Cover the base with baking beans (or any dried beans) and ‘blind-bake’ for 15 minutes, by which time the pastry edges should have started to brown. Carefully remove the beans along with the top layer of baking parchment, then prick the pastry all over with a fork and return to the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the pastry is a light golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the dates in a saucepan with 150ml of water and the bicarbonate of soda and set over a medium heat until the water has mostly reduced and the dates have softened, about 5 minutes. The bicarbonate will turn the dates a dark green colour, but don’t be alarmed!
Blitz the contents of the pan, using a hand-held blender or a food processor, then combine with the eggs, treacle, golden syrup, cream, breadcrumbs and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Make sure your pastry case is cool, then spread the lemon curd evenly over it. Now pour the treacle mix on top and bake for 45–50 minutes or until set and firm to touch.
Leave to cool in the tin on a cooling rack, then, with a knife or a pair of scissors, carefully trim the overhanging pastry. Dust with icing sugar and serve with plenty of whipped double cream.