In Elite Daily's I Tried series, we put celebrities’ favorite products, recipes, and routines to the test to show you what living like your fave star is really like. In this piece, we try a recipe for Harry Potter’s favorite food, treacle tart.
Harry Potter is known for a lot of things — his Quidditch skills, his lightning bolt scar, and his magical ability to defeat dark wizards — but true fans of the fictional ~boy who lived~ know him deeper than that. For example: his favorite food. All throughout the books and films, Harry reaches for treacle tart, a traditional British sweet, over and over again. Granted, I’m no Molly Weasley, but since I do know my way around the kitchen, I decided to try making Harry Potter’s favorite treacle tart at home. While the recipe was no easy feat, I’m starting to see why the dessert had the Hogwarts alumnus under such a spell.
The first hurdle in making the tart to Harry’s specifications was finding the perfect recipe. Harry is a lot of things, a baker he isn’t, so a recipe for his favorite dish isn’t found in any of the seven books. Luckily, in addition to all the Harry Potter novels on my shelf, I had my own secret to brewing up magical meals: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz. The book is full of recipes seen throughout the Harry Potter series, from meat pies to pumpkin pasties to the one I really wanted to recreate, treacle tart.
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A magical cookbook filled with recipes from the 'Harry Potter' universe.
The dish — which is also popular among muggles in the U.K. — is a sticky, semi-sweet pastry that Harry Potter can’t seem to get enough of. While I’d never made a tart, or even tasted one of the treacle variety, I figured if a 14-year-old boy could defeat a dragon, save the world, and get the girl, I could make this recipe.
Whether you’re a witch, a wizard, or a muggle, the first step to creating treacle tart is to get all the ingredients together. Bucholz’s recipe requires you to summon the following:
For the tart crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks cold butter, cut into chunks
- 2 cold large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 1 cup syrup, light molasses, or corn syrup
- 2 1/4 cups bread crumbs (fresh)
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 to 5 tablespoons)
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
I actually already had all of the ingredients for the tart in my pantry, which was a major win. But even if you don’t have these items, they’re great kitchen staples you can use for other dishes (like breaded chicken or pancakes), so they’re worth stocking up on.
When it comes to tart making, you have to plan ahead, which is something I didn’t really consider. I decided to enlist the help of my mom — whom I consider an IRL Mrs. Weasley — to help me whip up Harry’s favorite treat. After pulling out my KitchenAid mixer and all the ingredients, we made the tart dough. If you’ve ever made cookies, pie crust, or shortbread, it’ll feel very familiar.
First, I added the flour, powdered sugar, and salt into the bowl and mixed it all together. Then, I added the butter (which I cut up into cubes for easier blending), turned my mixer to a low speed, and let it do its thing.
Up next, we mixed the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and cream together in a smaller bowl before adding it to the butter mixture. Once again, I simply turned on my mixer (I kept it on a low speed since I didn’t want to get flour all over the kitchen) and let it churn everything together until the concoction resembled dough. I then formed the dough into two circular disks, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and then stuck them in the refrigerator. Then, we opened some butterbeer (OK fine, it was wine) and promptly forgot about the tart until the day next.
The next morning, after multiple reminders from my mother, we headed back into the kitchen for the second part of our treacle-making endeavor: creating the filling. As someone who had no idea what treacle tart was when I started out, I was surprised to find the most prominent ingredient in the filling is breadcrumbs. Even though the recipe calls for fresh ones, I just used a packet of plain ones I already had, since DIYing breadcrumbs felt a bit extra.
As I set out to mix the filling — which involves zesting a lemon, squeezing out the juice, and mixing it together with some breadcrumbs, syrup, and another beaten egg — my mother decided we needed to get into character. She placed a replica Sorting Hat (which I’ve had since my elementary school days) atop my head and ran around the kitchen island with the Nimbus 2000 I keep stashed in my closet. Since she’s no professional Quidditch player, she knocked into me and almost caused me to spill the filling.
Luckily, my inner Seeker came out and I caught the bowl before it fell, then quickly confiscated the broom from my mother and put her on dough-rolling duty as a punishment. It turns out, tart dough is extremely sticky and you need lots of flour and patience to roll it out without tearing it, which meant we manipulated the dough for a good 20 minutes before rolling it out enough to turn it into the crust. Since we didn’t have a tart pan, I got out a pie pan and my mom pressed the rolled-out dough into the pan.
Once the base looked somewhat like an actual crust, I simply poured the filling in... or at least I tried to. Since the filling was pretty thick due to all the bread crumbs, I had to push it around a bit for it to fill the tart base. Once it was set, I used the other disk of dough to create a lattice topping.
Since I’ve never latticed, I was unsure how to do it, but the directions said to simply cut the second dough circle into strips and lay them down, first in one direction, then in the other direction over top. After pressing down any pieces that looked out of place, my mom insisted we sprinkle it with a little bit of cinnamon before tossing it in the oven.
The recipe calls for baking the tart at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 375 degrees and baking for another 25 minutes. While the tart toasted — and filled the house up with a lovely scent of lemon and dough — I finished cleaning the kitchen. When my alarm went off, my crust was slightly browner than I would have liked (my oven runs hot), so if I were to make this again, I’d probably bake the tart for only 20 minutes. All in all, though, it looked good enough to eat, and after waiting about 10 minutes for it to cool, I called my family in to do just that.
The Taste Test
Having never had treacle tart, I had no idea what to expect from the dish. I was surprised at how citrusy it smelled, and when I took a bite, the lemon flavor was the first thing I noticed. The bite of the zest complimented the mild sweetness of the breadcrumbs and the dough was like an elevated pie crust — flaky, buttery, and crunchy, like a coffee cake without all the sugar.
When it came time to have my family taste it, I pulled out some vanilla ice cream and whipped cream (both of which Bucholz suggests to serve atop the tart). Everyone agreed the tart, while not the *most* flavorful dessert anyone’s ever eaten, was wonderful served warm with a cup of coffee on the side. And considering my brother went back for a second (then third) slice, it seems like Harry might be onto something with his favorite food.
Overall, the whole tart-making process took about two total working hours, 24 hours of prep/chilling, 35 minutes of baking, and about 10 minutes to be devoured by my family. While I think my version was a little too dry, it still felt homey and comforting, which is probably why Harry loved it so much. So, even though I’m more likely to reach for a pumpkin pasty or chocolate frog when I want some dessert, the next time I’m in the mood for a Harry Potter movie marathon, I just might have to whip up this tart in honor of The Chosen One.