Tuesday 17 February 2015

Bakewell Tart

Several months back, my family and I visited scenic Pill, home of the Pill Shooter and the launching place of the Methodists when they sailed off for North America.

There is a small cafe there, nothing too extraordinary, but we stopped for a cuppa one day and decided to sample one of their bakewell tarts. It was far superior to anything Mr Kipling has to offer, so I vowed we should make one sometime for our local congregation of catholics.

Some 4 months later I finally got around to doing it. The first recipe to come up on my Google search was one of the GBBO's Mary Berry. It looked simple enough, so I gave it a shot.

She wanted me to do the pastry with my hands, but I instead my usual method of grating the butter into the flour. This makes it a good size for pastry purposes.

Nothing too exciting here, just a simple butter and flour mix.

Plus enough cold water to be able to bring it all together.

I put the lump that turned into inside my fridge, then rolled it out in a haphazard fashion to produce the following result:

One day I will master the art of rolling out pastry...just not today. I used the rolling pin to just roll along the top and cut off the edge. and then set my oven to heat up while I popped this in the fridge to help it keep its shape while baking.

Meanwhile I worked on the filling of melted butter and sugar...

Plus egg, ground almonds, and almond extract.

Frangipane, or something like that. I like to think of the cottage of Hansel and Gretel when I read that word - that in the windows she had frangipanes. You wouldn't be able to see anything out of frangipanes, but they'd sure taste nice.

Now that the oven was hot, I put a big sheet of baking paper on top of the pastry and in went my "pie weights". I've been baking this jar full of pulses for about 12 years now.

I baked the shell for a while with them in, then took out the weights and baking paper.

Then put the shell back in to dry out a bit more.

Onto the warm pastry went a thick layer of raspberry jam.

Then the frangipane mixture.

And last of all, a scattering of almonds.

Then into the oven at went. It said to check and cover it with foil to prevent over-browning halfway through the bake but I ignored that, resulting the following appearance:

Oh. Oops. It was well received nonetheless, and I think I may make it again sometime. Maybe next time I'll even remember to put the glaze drizzle on the top when it's cooling.

The recipe I used was as follows:


For the shortcrust pastry
For the filling
For the icing

Preparation method

  1. To make the pastry, 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.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a 20cm/8in flan tin. Leave in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 (180C fan).
  4. Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and foil and cook for a further five minutes to dry out the base.
  5. For the filing, spread the base of the flan generously with raspberry jam.
  6. Melt the butter in a pan, take off the heat and then stir in the sugar. Add ground almonds, egg and almond extract. Pour into the flan tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes. If the almonds seem to be browning too quickly, cover the tart loosely with foil to prevent them burning.
  8. Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in cold water and transfer to a piping bag.
  9. Once you have removed the tart from the oven, pipe the icing over the top, giving an informal zig zag effect.

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