Everyone has a sweet tooth, even members of the Royal Family. Similar to most, even Diana, Princess of Wales gave into Prince Harry’s sweet tooth.
Former Kensington Palace chef, Carolyn Robb reveals that Diana would occasionally let Prince Harry have a treacle tart for breakfast. A treacle tart is a shortcut pastry traditionally made with a thick golden syrup filling. Harry had such a love for the tart that Robb reveals she had to keep a constant supply in the freezer.
Robb, 53, told the Sunday Times, “One morning, a young Harry came to the kitchen before breakfast and asked for one.”
Robb told the young prince he better ask his mother. “So off he went, scampering back a few moments later with a note Diana had written: ‘Mummy says it’s okay’.”
Robb started working for the Prince and Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace in 1989 and stayed on until 2000. Starting when Harry was four-years-old, and William seven, Robb gave all the secrets regarding the princes’ sweet cravings.
Harry had a taste for treacle tarts, but William preferred a chocolate biscuit cake which William even ended up having re-created for his 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton.
While Charles had more dietary requirements which were more demanding, Diana preferred simpler dishes such as cold minted lamb, salads, souffles and stuffed aubergine.
“Everything was based on what was in season in the garden,” Robb explains regarding Charles’ dietary requirements. “You wouldn’t dare serve asparagus in December.”
Interviewed by Diana herself for the job, Robb says her time with the Royal Family was like a “dream job.”
“You’re cooking with the freshest ingredients in well-equipped kitchens, for people who tell you when they particularly enjoy a meal. It’s a complete joy. And so exciting.”
Robb went on to add – “I mean, you get to travel the world with them. I cooked on the Royal Yacht Britannia. I’d go with them to Balmoral and make the picnics.
“You have this extraordinary role right at the ear of that world. It’s a complete privilege.”
In 2015, Robb published a book called The Royal Touch – a book full of English recipes inspired by her time in the Royal Household. Recipes that even include one inspired by Prince Harry’s favourite, treacle tarts.
How to make Prince Harry’s tarts
MAKES 20 SMALL TARTS
FOR THE ORANGE PASTRY
- 120g (4oz) butter
- 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 240g (8oz) plain flour
- zest of 1 orange see method
- 1 medium free-range egg yolk
- 4 tbsp cold water
FOR THE FILLING
- 400g (14oz) golden syrup
- 150g (5½ oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
- zest of 1 lemon see method
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp double cream
YOU WILL NEED
- two 12-hole cupcake tins or two medium 12-hole muffin pans, or you can use 20 individual tartlet moulds about 5cm-6cm (2in-2½ in) across
1. First, make the orange pastry: in a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and flour and process until it resembles breadcrumbs. Grate the orange zest directly into the bowl. Add the egg yolk and a little of the water, while pulsing the food processor on and off. Continue adding the water until the dough comes together, but be careful not to overprocess or the pastry will be tough when cooked.
2. Remove the pastry from the food processor and, on a lightly floured board, bring it together into a ball. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
3. While it is chilling, warm the golden syrup in a small heavy-based saucepan – do not let it boil. Remove from the heat, add the breadcrumbs and grate the lemon zest in. Leave it to sit so that the crumbs absorb the golden syrup and swell.
4. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of about 3mm (⅛ in). Cut out circles to line 20 of the cupcake moulds (or muffin tins or tartlet moulds) and press the pastry down well into each mould. Chill for a further 15 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
6. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and double cream to the golden syrup and breadcrumb mixture.
7. Place a little filling in each tartlet.
8. Decorate the top of each one with tiny pastry shapes or a lattice of very thin pastry strips (as many as you can fit). You can also personalise them by putting names or initials on the top using pastry letters.
9. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool in the moulds for 10 minutes before removing.
10. Serve warm with whipped cream, custard or ice cream, or just pop one in your mouth fresh from the oven.