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.
My favourite meeting spot when I am in Dublin is Bewley’s Oriental Café in Grafton Street.
Bewley’s has been a Dublin institution since the late 19th century and its coffee and tea is sold throughout Ireland. It still hand roasts all its coffee on site on the fourth floor of 78 Grafton Street. Named “the heart and hearth of Dublin” by poet Brendan Kennelly, the Grafton Street café was the haunt of Irish literary greats such as James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh and Samuel Beckett. It’s a great spot to meet friends for a chat or to take a break from Grafton Street shopping.
I When I was a student at Trinity College Dublin many years ago, I treated Bewley’s Westmoreland and Grafton Street cafes like my sitting room. Countless confidences were shared and romances begun and ended over “white” coffee (café au lait) and cakes. My favourites were almond buns and coffee slices. Here is an easy recipe for the coffee slice — a coffee-glazed puff pastry with fresh whipped cream — using store bought puff pastry.
If you like this recipe, please share it and if you make it, please let me know how it turned out. You can be notified when I update this blog by clicking the “Follow” button below.
Coffee-glazed Pastries with Whipped Cream
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) coffee syrup
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) cold water
- 6 tbsp. (90 g) confectioner's (icing) sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) raspberry jam
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius.
- Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to 15 x 12 inches. Cut pastry lengthwise into three 12 x 5 inch strips. Transfer two of the strips to the baking sheet. Dock each strip all over with a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Bake pastry strips until golden and puffed -- about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a rack to cool.
- Using a long, serrated knife, trim top side of the pastry strips so they are flat and event.
- In a small bowl, stir coffee syrup with cold water and confectioner's sugar to make a spreadable glaze. Add a little more water if the glaze is too thick.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the coffee glaze on the bottom of one of the pastry strips.
- Whip cream thickly.
- Place second pastry strip on a work surface. Spread jam on the pastry. Top with the whipped cream. Cover with the coffee-glazed strip -- glazed side up. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Using a serrated knife, cut pastry into eight slices.
Blood Orange and Almond Tart
- 175 g (6 oz.) all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. superfine sugar
- 85 g (3 oz.) butter
- About 2 tbsp. orange juice
- 1 egg yolk
- 85 g (3 0z.) butter
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) superfine sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 85 g (3 oz.) ground almonds
- 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier
- 6 blood oranges
- Apricot glaze:
- 6 tbsp apricot jam
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar.
- Cut the cold butter into cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.
- Mix the orange juice with the egg yolk and stir into the butter/flour mixture. Add a little more juice or water if necessary, but not so much as to make the pastry too sticky.
- Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the pastry from the fridge. Grease a 10 inch tart tin with a removable bottom. Roll out the pastry to fit the tin. Line the greased tin with the pastry, line with a circle of parchment paper or a paper coffee filter and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for about 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the almond filling. Cream the butter, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beat well and then stir in the ground almonds and the liqueur.
- Make the apricot glaze by heating the jam and lemon juice in a saucepan over a low heat until melted. Push the jam through a sieve to remove solids and make the glaze.
- When the tart is par-baked, allow to cool. Brush the base with the apricot glaze and fill with the almond mixture. Return to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked and firm to the touch in the center and at the sides.
- While the tart is baking, remove the peel and pith form the blood oranges. Slice the fruit into thin rounds. When the tart is baked and slightly cooled, but still warm, arrange the fruit rounds on top, overlapping them slightly. Paint the fruit with the remaining apricot glaze.
- Serve with a bowl of whipped cream.
When rolling out pastry to fit a tin, it is helpful to measure it with a ruler. I keep a ruler specially for pastry making.
Paper coffee filters for drip coffee machines are a perfect size to line pastry for blind baking.
I made this lovely, sunset-hued tart twice in the last month for baby showers for co-workers and it was a hit. Baby Max graciously made a guest appearance at his shower. I think baby showers are so much nicer when the guest of honor is present.
The Irish connection to this recipe is the Ballymaloe Cookery School. This is one of the winter recipes included in the “a year at Ballymalloe cookery school” cookbook by Darina Allen. The blood oranges remind me of my parents’ stories about receiving oranges as Christmas presents in Ireland after World War II when citrus fruit was a rare treat. Since even in America, blood oranges are only available in our supermarkets for a few months beginning in January they also seem like a rare treat and somehow taste better for it.