Bakewell tart: easy to make, delicious to eat

It's quick to make, you can even use use shop-bought pastry for a comforting dessert at this time of year

A bakewell tart can be prepared one or two days ahead of time, and slices beautifully.

A bakewell tart can be prepared one or two days ahead of time, and slices beautifully.

 

Bakewell tarts are very popular in cafés and coffee shops. Served warm, it is also an excellent tart to make for a dinner party and it is robust enough to bring along to a cake sale.

It is quite quick to make (if you use shop-bought pastry), can be prepared one or two days ahead of time, and slices beautifully. When homemade, with a delicious buttery pastry, it is truly scrumptious and makes a comforting dessert at this time of year.

The ground almonds in the traditional frangipane filling help to keep it moist inside with a signature crunchy crust which is bestowed with even more crunch by a scattering of flaked almonds.

Ground almonds can make certain desserts expensive. With an increase in global demand, the price of nuts varies between shops and even among brands. My advice would be to have a peep in the baking section next time you are in the shops and do a price check. I guarantee you’ll find two identical products and one with triple the price tag. You’ll join the ranks of the savvy baker who will never pay over the odds for this particular ingredient again.

However, do resist the temptation to stock up on nuts (especially ground nuts) if you see a bargain, as they tend to develop a rancid taste after prolonged storage. For this recipe, buying good quality jam or conserve makes all the difference.

I like to roll my pastry out as thinly as possible, creating a delicate casing for the almond filling. The best thing about this recipe is that you can adapt it to be gluten free by omitting the pastry altogether, as long as you use a loose bottomed tin and grease it well (add the layer of jam after first covering the tart tin with a base layer of frangipane and avoid spreading the jam too close to the edges so it does not seep into the crust).

You can also reduce the sugar content by using sugar substitutes such as zylitol (read the instructions on the packet) and adding defrosted and drained frozen raspberries over the cooked pastry base instead of jam.

BAKEWELL TART

Serves eight

Ingredients

For the pastry:

200g plain flour
100g cold butter, diced small
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp cold water, if needed

For the tart filling:

150g butter, room temperature
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g ground almonds
1 tsp almond essence
60g good quality raspberry conserve (or jam)
20g flaked almonds

To serve: freshly whipped cream

Method

1 Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius, fan, or equivalent. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

2 To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in icing sugar. With a dinner knife, work in the egg yolk then bring together to a firm dough (add a little water if it appears very dry to help the mixture come together). Shape into a flat disc. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

3 Roll the pastry out thinly (2mm) on a lightly floured work surface and use to line the greased tart tin. To bake the pastry case blind, line it with parchment paper and fill with baking beans (or uncooked rice or lentils). Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is light golden in colour. Remove the beans and paper and set aside.

4 For the tart filling, use an electric whisk to cream together the butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl. Set the whisk to a low speed and gradually add the eggs, one at a time, do not overmix.

5 Add the ground almonds and almond essence.

6 Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the base of the cooked pastry case.

7 Transfer the frangipane filling into the pastry case, levelling it with a spatula. Scatter flaked almonds over the top. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the frangipane filling is set firm with a golden crust.

8 Serve warm with whipped cream, thick yoghurt or ice-cream.

Variation: Try other conserves to flavour the tart. Cherry, rhubarb or apricot are all good. 

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