• Treacle and vanilla salt tart (Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson)

We ‘age’ the golden syrup in the oven over two nights at a very low temperature to develop the flavour.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (15 votes)

We use Tate & Lyle golden syrup as it has the best flavour of any that we’ve tried. Aging it gives it a rich caramel, toffee flavour. It will keep in the tin once aged for years, so you could do a few tins at a time if you’re a treacle tart lover.


  • ½ quantity sweet pastry, chilled (recipe here)

Treacle filling

  • 90 g (3 oz) eggs (2 small eggs)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) thick cream
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 454 g (1 lb) golden syrup (1 tin) (see Notes)
  • 90 g (3 oz) butter
  • 85 g (3 oz) sourdough breadcrumbs
  • zest of 1½ lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon

Vanilla salt

  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • clotted cream or crème fraîche, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Aging time: 3 days

Refrigeration time: overnight

On a lightly floured bench, roll the pastry out into a large disc, 5 mm (¼ in) thick. Lightly grease a 23 cm (9 in) round tart tin with butter, and gently lay the pastry over it. Press the pastry firmly into the base of the tin. Trim the excess with a knife, then place the tart shell in the fridge to rest for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).

To make the treacle filling, whisk together the eggs, cream and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Warm the tin of golden syrup in the oven for a few minutes. This makes the syrup more viscous, so it’s easier to get out.

Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, leave it until it starts to brown – you will know it’s ready when it stops spitting and bubbling, and produces a wonderful nutty aroma. This means the water has evaporated and it’s close to burning. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the solids, and weigh 60 g (2 oz) into a medium sized bowl.

Add the warmed golden syrup to the butter and mix to combine. Stir this into the egg mixture, then add the breadcrumbs, followed by the lemon zest and juice, stirring well between each addition. Chill the mixture in the fridge overnight to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb all the liquid.

The next day, to blind bake the tart shell, line the rested pastry case with baking paper and fill with dried beans, rice or baking weights. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake the tart shell for a further 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside to cool in the tin.

To make the vanilla salt, rub the vanilla seeds and sea salt together. You will have more than you need, but it keeps for ages in a small jar, so you can save it for later.

Preheat the oven to 155°C (310°F). Take the breadcrumb mix out of the fridge. It will have separated slightly, so mix it with a spoon until it comes back together then pour it into a jug.

Place the tart shell on a flat tray lined with baking paper. Place the tray in the oven, then gently pour in the treacle mixture. Fill the pastry case to just below the rim, as it will expand a bit in the oven. Bake for 45–50 minutes, until just set. The filling should be just firm on the edges and have a bit of wobble in the centre, like a jelly.

Place the tart on a wire rack to cool, then remove the tart from the tin and transfer onto a serving dish. Sprinkle the top with the vanilla salt, and serve with a dollop of clotted cream or crème fraîche, if desired.



• Start this recipe at least a day before you want to eat the tart. Once mixed, the filling needs to be rested overnight to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the syrup properly. If you choose to age the syrup, you’ll need to start this recipe three days ahead. To save time on the day, you could also blind bake the pastry case and mix the vanilla salt the day before.

• You can use honey or maple syrup if golden syrup is unavailable - but it must be tinned if you are going to age it. To age the golden syrup, start three days ahead. Preheat the oven to 80°C (180°F) and place the tin, still sealed, on the centre rack. Leave overnight, then remove and leave at room temperature for the day. Repeat the following night.

• We make breadcrumbs from our spelt and honey sourdough because its nuttiness and honey notes add to the richness and complexity of this tart. Plain sourdough crumbs, or any coarse breadcrumbs, will also work well.


Photography by Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson.

This recipe is from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $60) and is available in stores nationally.