Another dessert that was introduced to me when I moved to Ireland, it seems the Bakewell Tart is quite well loved around these parts!
This tart actually hails from across the pond in England, but as these things go, its neighbours somehow inherit it and then it becomes a loved local dessert.
I can't remember exactly when I tried Bakewell for the first time, but I know that when I did, I had to make it myself 'cause I loved it so much. When I discovered an incredible range of fruit preserves on an Italian foodie site and my brain started ticking, and here I am, finally writing a post about this delicious dessert! (And please don't tell my friend Giuseppe that I've found another Italian food source, he might be quite heartbroken to know that he's not the only Italian food supplier in my life!)
I could go into the history of this simple but delicious tart, but I think I'm possibly one of not that many a cake nerd who enjoys reading up on that stuff, so I don't want to bore you! If you're up for a little history on this pastry, I found a fantastic article here detailing it.
Speaking of cake nerds, I ended up in a Facebook conversation about cake geeks vs nerds vs hipsters. I established my two friends and myself were one of each. I'm actually the cake geek, Maryanne the cake nerd and then Alex the cake hipster (by his own admission).
So, this inspired me to write an awful joke. Please indulge me.
Oh, before I begin, I should explain that this was inspired by Alex's incredible looking "Pi" pie. That is, a pie he made decorated with pastry numbers depicting the number of Pi.
A cake geek, a hipster and a nerd walk into a bakery. The cake geek says, "I think I'll get a Battenberg cake. I like things that could be found in Minecraft."
The cake hipster replies, "Well, I'd rather have a loaf of sourdough. I hear their starter is made with craft beer and it's been fermenting for 50 years."
To which the cake nerd replies, "I'm just going to have some Pi(e)."
It still needs some work but I think it has potential! Yes? No?
Just have to say, sorry it's a bit long, but I find that short jokes are a bit crumby...
Hahahahaa! Okay, I'll stop now!
Now that I've suitably entertained you, let me tell you about this delicious trio of mini Bakewell tarts.
For those of you who have yet to experience the pleasure that is a Bakewell tart, let me give you a brief description.
Flaky shortcrust pastry shell with a bit of sweet raspberry jam spread over the base. The pastry case is then filled with frangipane, which is an interesting batter made with butter, eggs, ground almond and almond extract. Finally, to add a bit of texture, the top has flaked almonds strewn all over. Once baked, it's sometimes iced with a simple glaze icing. It is buttery and moist, yet I don't find it too heavy. The tartness of the raspberry jam as well as the strong almost floral almond flavour balances the richness of the butter in the filling. It's delicious, especially if you're a fan of marzipan. You can enjoy it warm or cold and it keeps really well so you can savour it for a couple of days, if you have the will power!
Now, you'll note I said raspberry jam. This is one of the most common jams to use, but I think there is plenty of room to play with flavours!
I'm not usually one for jams or marmalades, but as I mentioned above, I've been wanting to post a Bakewell recipe for ages and so I've had my eye out for anything interesting that I could use. When I came across some amazing and slightly unusual fruit preserves online, I knew I'd finally be able to work on this recipe!
I couldn't settle on getting one preserve so I ended up with three. Sour cherry, blueberry and orange. In my opinion, all good flavours to stand up boldly to, and with, the strong almond flavour.
I was so excited when my delivery arrived! (I love ordering things online. I feel like it's my birthday or Christmas when I get an e-mail saying I have a package waiting for me at reception :D) The one I was most curious about was the orange preserve. I thought it might be more like a marmalade, but it's not. It's thick with pulp and has an incredible rich flavour from the Italian oranges used to make it. It's sunshine in a jar. So good!
The sour cherry also didn't disappoint. It really has a lovely sour tang to it, and of course, thick with chunky bits of cherry. Perfect for a Bakewell! The blueberry is also amazing quality and almost black it's so rich with blueberries.
Now, I like to post recipes with ingredients that anyone can get their hands on, or at least similar substitutes, so if you're just baking on a whim so a quick nip to the shops is all the time you have for rather than waiting a couple of days for a delivery to arrive, then you could use any preserve or jam that's similar. My other favourite brand is the French St Dalfour. They don't have any added sugar, just the sweetness that comes from loads of cooked down fruit, so they're not sickly sweet and most of them have a great tang, just what you want for this dessert. And, they've got a lovely orange preserve as well as a blueberry one.
I've included a link at the end if you do want to try the same jams that I used, but any decent preserve will do. I will always prefer a small batch preserve, like those you pick up in farmer's markets, but that's just my personal preference.
You can choose to make one large Bakewell with one preserve flavour, or do what I did, make a few mini versions with variations.
I've also stepped away from the norm by adding fresh fruit to my Bakewells, but it's not unheard of, so while we're coming into Summer I thought I'd add some plump blueberries and cherries, with a bit of grated orange zest for the last of my flavours. This is optional, but delicious. Although, I will be honest, the blueberry one does look a little messy inside. The dark blue tends to leech quite a bit, but that's just the nature of baking with blueberries. If you don't want that, just stick to using the preserve.
Overall, I think this recipe is quite easy, and if you're comfortable with making shortcrust pasty, even easier. The frangipane can actually be made in a food processor, but I thought I'd share the more traditional way of making it in this recipe.
Oh, and if you're wondering, my favourite ended being the orange Bakewell. Actually, a few of my happy tasters were surprised at finding it to be their favourite as well, with the sour cherry a close second :D
Happy Bakewell baking!
Trio of Sour Cherry, Blueberry and Orange Bakewell Tartlettes
Makes 6 - 9 depending if you use 10cm tartlette baking tins that are 2cm or 3cm deep
|225g||8 oz||Plain Flour, sifted|
|100g||3.5 oz||Unsalted Butter, chilled & cut in cubes|
|4-5 Tbsp||4-5 Tbsp||Ice Cold Water|
|For the Filling|
|2-3 Tbsp||2-3 Tbsp||(each) Sour Cherry / Blueberry / Orange Conserves or Jams|
|125g||4.5 oz||Unsalted Butter, softened|
|125g||4.5 oz||Caster Sugar|
|125g||4.5 oz||Ground Almonds|
|½ tsp||½ tsp||Almond Extract|
|3-4||3-4||Cherries, pitted and cut in half (optional)|
|10-15||10-15||Blueberries, rinsed (optional)|
|1 tsp||1 tsp||Orange Zest (optional)|
|50g||2 oz||Flaked Almonds|
|Icing Sugar, for dusting|
For the Pastry
- Place all ingredients except the water in a bowl or in a food processor
- Lightly rub butter into the other flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs, with plenty of pea sized pieces of butter remaining, or if using a food processor, pulse until mixture resembles the same
- Add 2-3 Tbsp water and mix with a blunt knife, then use your hands to lightly bring all the ingredients together. If using a food processor, pulse until ingredients form a ball.
- If dough is too dry to hold together, add another tablespoon of ice-water
- Tip ingredients out onto a floured surface and lightly knead just to bring pastry together
- Tip: Do not overwork the pastry otherwise it will be tough. The less you handle it, the better. You want to still see bits of butter in the finished dough, this is what makes it flaky
- Flatten into a disc shape and wrap in clingfilm
- Refrigerate for between 30mins to an hour
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 (180°C assisted) and place a large baking tray inside to heat
- Remove pastry from the fridge and unwrap
- On a flour surface, gently roll out pastry until it's about 3mm thick, making sure to keep pastry moving so that it doesn't stick and dusting with flour as needed
- Dust off any excess flour from the surface of the pastry then cut rounds big enough to fit 10cm round tart tins (either 9x2cm deep or 6x3cm deep)
- Use the pads of your fingertips to press the pastry into each tin then trim off the excess pastry
- Tip: You may need to gather the scraps and re-roll it to have enough to line all of your baking tins. Avoid doing this process again, the more you work the dough by re-rolling it, the less flaky it will be
- Use a fork to prick the surface of the pastry, then chill in the freezer for 15-20mins or fridge for 30-40mins
- Line each pastry lined tin with rumpled parchment paper or 2 layers of clingfilm and fill to the top with baking beads or dried beans or rice
- Place on preheated baking tray and blind bake for 15mins
- Remove from the oven and carefully remove the baking beads/beans then return to the oven and bake for further 10mins
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack then leave to cool while you prepare the filling
- Lower oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 (160°C fan assisted)
For the frangipane filling
- Combine butter and caster sugar in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well creamed
- Add an egg and beat until combined, then add the second egg and do the same
- Mix in the ground almonds and almond extract
- Alternatively: Combine butter, sugar and eggs in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth, then stir in the ground almonds and extract
- Set aside
- Spoon 1 Tbsp of conserve or jam into the bottom of each baked shell (2 or 3 with cherry, 2 or 3 with blueberry & 2 or 3 with orange), spread so that it covers the bottom of the pastry
- I find the easiest way to fill the pastry with the frangipane is to spoon the frangipane into a large piping bag, cut the end off the bag then pipe the frangipane into each pastry case on top of the jam in a spiral shape
- Use a spatula or back of a spoon to smooth out the top
- Alternatively: Simply spoon the frangipane into each pastry case on top of the jam and smooth with the back of a spoon or spatula
- If adding fruit, push about 5 blueberries into the frangipane that has the blueberry conserve. About 3-4 cherry halves into the cherry filled ones, and then sprinkle the top of the orange ones with a few strips of orange zest
- Strew the top of each with flaked almonds
- Bake for 25-30mins until the filling is baked. You can tell if frangipane is baked if the centre doesn't wobble when gently shaken or bumped
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then carefully remove from tart tins and dust the surface of each with icing sugar
- Alternatively: make a simple glaze by mixing icing sugar with a bit of water and drizzle over the tops
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, will keep for 2-3 days. You can also keep them in the fridge, just allow to come to room temp before enjoying.
Bakewell tart is often served with clotted cream, but I think it's also great with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, especially if you warm the Bakewell tartlettes up before serving!
For some seriously delicious Italian products, visit UFUUD.co.uk , that's where I got my lovely preserves. They even tell you where each product comes from in Italy and give suggestions for what you can use each product in. Seriously chuffed with discovering them! (Even though my friend Giuseppe is probably never going to speak to me again 'cause now he won't be my only source of authentic Italian goodies. ;) )