Wednesday, July 1, 2009

About that Bakewell Tart...

bakewell tart

I have to admit, I really procrastinated on this one. I had every intention of making this early but, well yeah, that didn't happen. Luckily it was an easy recipe to make and I was looking forward to using the jam I had made recently as part of the filling.

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom AddictAnnemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

What I enjoyed the most about this challenge was the process of making a tart. I've never made a proper tart before and I was excited to have a reason to buy a tart pan! For some reason, I just love tart pans. Especially mini ones. I could spend a ridiculously long time staring at the mini tart pans at Sur la Table (and have). The frilly edges are just so pretty to look at.

I considered making mini tarts, but after coming across at 7 inch removable bottom tart pan at Daiso, I opted to halve the recipe and go with that size. It was probably better I stayed away from Sur la Table - damage is always done when I'm there!

bakewell tart - crust

I made the crust a couple days in advance as I was running out of time and I also had a cake I needed to make for my daughter's kindergarten graduation celebration. I'm not sure if this affected the final result of the texture of the crust or not, but it ended up a bit on the chewy side. I thought it was supposed to have more of a shortbread texture, but mine definitely did not.

The frangipane came together easily and quickly. The recipe warns not to freak if it looks like it curdled after you've added the eggs - and it does look that way - but I think that could possibly be avoided if you used room temperature eggs (purely speculation derived from past experiences).

bakewell tart - jam filling

My favorite part was putting it all together. I used the strawberry vanilla bean jam I had made recently as the filling and topped it with the frangipane.

bakewell tart - frangipane

bakewell tart

bakewell tart

bakewell tart

Since I halved the recipe, I was cautious on how long I let it bake for. At 20 minutes it was golden brown, so I added the almonds and let it bake for another 5 minutes. I think I probably should've let it bake for the full 30 minutes, but I didn't want to over brown the top.

The final product looked great, but I found the taste to be a little...lackluster. The best part was the jam (pats self on back) but I didn't really taste much at all from the frangipane. I also think it wasn't quite done cooking, but this dessert is also considered a 'pudding' so perhaps it's supposed to be that way? I'm not sure. That, along with the slight chewiness of the crust kind of disappointed me. Despite my feelings on the taste, I really did enjoy making this.


Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

bakewell tart


  1. It looked delicious to me..especially w/ the jam..Just perfect!I think your lighting in your photos is just wonderful!

  2. that frangipane... i've never had it, but I think I must make it! not only is it a cool word, but your photos of it look super tasty!

  3. My taste buds are craving a bite!! Great blog!!!!

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