Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Traditional British Food, Part 32: Two Georges

First up, we have St. George, the patron saint of England. St. George's Day was Friday, April 23rd, so I made a Treacle Tart to celebrate. Honestly, any holy day is a good excuse for a tart. This recipe is derived from The Cooking of the British Isles, Harvest Traditional British Cooking, and my own imagination.

Paul is constantly teasing me about how cheap I am, but if I hadn't saved my breadcrumbs, I couldn't have made this tart. It's really important to use breadcrumbs from actual bread rather than the breadcrumbs that come ready-made from the grocery store for this recipe, because the grocery store breadcrumbs are too dry.

Treacle Tart

serves 8

Short crust pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons milk
Cold water, as needed

1 1/2 cups golden syrup
1 1/2 cups white breadcrumbs
juice from 1/2 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the crust:
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the butter and cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the milk and enough water so that the mixture forms a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a 10" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Place it on a baking sheet and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to 1/8" thickness. Roll it over the rolling pin and place on top of the tart pan. Picking up the dough as you work around the pan, lightly press (don't tear the dough!) the dough into the tart pan. Use the rolling pin to roll over the top of the pan, removing excess dough. Set remaining dough aside.

In a bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Then, pour the filling into the tart pan. Use the leftover dough to decorate the top of the tart. You can cut it in strips for a lattice design, or use a cookie cutter to make decorative shapes.

Bake the tart (leave the tart pan on the baking sheet) in the middle of the oven for 3o minutes, or until filling is set and has puffed up a bit (it will fall back down when you cool it).

When the tart is ready, remove the outer ring and place the tart on a cooling rack. Cool for a few minutes and then serve. Leftovers can be kept, covered, in the fridge.


Our second George is George Sanders, the actor. I enjoyed what I have inaugurated the First Annual George Sanders Film Festival this weekend. (Yes, I did watch a lot of movies. However, I was knitting most of the time, so that makes it OK.)
  • Foreign Correspondent (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)- Sanders plays newspaper reporter Scott ffolliott ("both small 'F's"), who helps Joel McCrea uncover a sinister plot to drive Europe to the brink of war; Hitchcock's plea for American support; great film that foreshadows Hitchcock's later work with James Stewart and Cary Grant
  • Sundown (Henry Hathaway, 1941)- another propaganda film about British army officers who discover a German plot to arm tribes in Africa
  • The Lodger (John Brahm, 1944)- Sanders, as Inspector John Warwick, sets out to capture Jack the Ripper and the heart of Merle Oberon (who didn't annoy the crap out of me for once); this film was a nice surprise--it doesn't fall into the trap of hokeyness, the cinematography is perfect, and Laird Cregar, who plays titular character, does a fantastic job
  • A Scandal in Paris (Douglas Sirk, 1946)- Geroge Sanders--thief, lover, police chief?; fun popcorn movie; perfect for St. George's Day, because escaped convicts Vidocq (Sanders) and Vernet (Akim Tamiroff) pose for a painting of St. George and the dragon and abscond with the painter's horse!
  • The Strange Woman (1946)- George Sanders as a lumberjack?!
  • All About Eve (1950)- the only film I watched this weekend where Sanders actually plays a rotter (to perfection) in his Oscar-winning turn as Addison DeWitt, theatre critic and all-around stinker
All are available on DVD.

Link to Sundown (entire film) at Internet Archive
Link to The Strange Woman (entire film) at Internet Archive

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