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For the last few years, my friend Anne has been reminiscing about the Bakewell Tart that her Irish auntie makes and hinting that it might be nice if I put my pastry skills to use by recreating it here in the States. Bakewell Tart is an old-fashioned English tea time treat that combines flaky pastry with almond cake and jam. Raspberry jam is traditional, but you can use any kind of jam you like. While it is perfect as it is with afternoon tea, it can be dressed up with freshly whipped cream and berries for a lovely dessert.
For Anne’s birthday last week, I surprised her with a homemade Bakewell Tart. I found a simple recipe on the BBC food site. Here I’ve translated the British terms into more familiar American names for ingredients and equipment. I always think about blackberry recipes at this time of the year — the peak time for foraging for blackberries in Ireland. – so I used a tablespoon of blackberry jam in place of the raspberry. (Here is an easy recipe for refrigerator blackberry jam.)
We ate the tart at a Labor Day/birthday celebration cookout at Anne’s brother and sister-in-law’s house. Many of the guests had never tasted this tart before, but liked it enough to ask for the recipe so here it is. You will need an eight inch tart pan with a removable bottom. I usually buy ground almond meal in the nut section at Trader Joe’s. It can also be ordered online from baking products providers such as King Arthur Flour. If you are new to pastry, the shell is first baked “blind” which simply means that it is baked first without filling to cook the pastry.
If you make the tart, let me know how it turned out. As always, if you like this post, please share it.
- 175g/6 oz plain flour
- 75g/2 1/2 oz chilled, unsalted European style butter
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp blackberry (or other) jam
- 125g/4 1/2 oz unsalted butter
- 125g/4 1/2 oz superfine (caster) sugar
- 125g/4 1/2 oz ground almonds
- 1 organic egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 50g/1 3/4 oz flaked almonds
- 80g/2 3/4 oz confectioner's (icing) sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp cold water
- 20cm/8in tart tin with removable bottom
- Measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water, mixing to form a soft dough.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a greased 20cm/8 in tart tin with removable bottom. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Line the chilled pastry with foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and lining and cook for another five minutes to dry out the base.
- Spread the base of the pastry with a generous tablespoon of jam. It will seem like it's not enough jam, but it is. Too much jam will seep into the cake.
- Melt the butter in a large pan, take off the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the ground almonds, egg and almond extract. Pour into the pastry shell and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
- Bake for about 35 minutes. If the almonds are browning too quickly, cover the tart loosely with foil to prevent them from burning.
- Meanwhile, sift the confectioner's sugar into a bowl. Stir in cold water and transfer to a piping bag. If you don't have a piping bag, use a plastic storage bag and cut off one of the corners to make a piping bag. It works just as well.
- Remove tart from oven when cooked. Pipe icing over the top in a zig-zag pattern.