How to Make Bakewell Tarts
Moist, crumbly, rustic and so, so delicious,
especially if you are an almond-loving type of person.
Blog save our gracious Tart
Long live our noble Tart
Blog save our Tart.
nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah,
Send her victorious,
Bakewell is glorious,
Long to weigh over us
Blog save our Tart!
After reading an article in the Independent, (expired unless you want to fork out a pound to read it from the backlogs), about the decline in popularity of certain British foods, Andrew from Spittoon took it upon himself to try and save the Bakewell Tart from extinction. The tarts made the list of endangered species due to reports of a decline in sales of Mr Kipling's Cherry Bakewells which I honestly don't give a toss about. I couldn't care less if I never ate another one of those machine-made monstrosities for as long as I live. Mr Kipling's production-line Bakewells deserve to be extinct. Let 'em die out, I say, with their thick, pale, mealy pastry, their measly spread of jam and their miniscule cake centre laden down by a deep, sticky white fondant topped with an ungainly glace cherry. If Mr Kipling made his Bakewells more like Jamie Oliver's, I can assure you he would be worrying about being able to meet demands, not declining sales.
Clockwise from top left: baking blind, June Taylor's fabulous strawberry conserve with rose geranium, the tarts filled with the frangipane, a teaspoon of conserve in the bottom of each pastry cup.
I have made Bakewell Tarts on this blog twice before, each time using Jamie's recipe as a guide and thereafter adapting it slightly, until now I have a method which is still his at heart, but even better.
Usually I make one big tart, but this time I decided to adapt the recipe to make individual tarts so they could be more easily and elegantly presented as gifts to several different friends, as well as my downstairs neighbour. Planning to give most of the Bakewell away negates the need to exercise restraint, particularly useful if you care about your waistline. But be sure to save a little bit for yourself!
First off, the pastry. The original recipe for Jamie's pastry works well, is easy to manage and is very forgiving. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, especially if you lack pastry confidence and this is your first time making the tart. That said, this time round, I actually used a pate sucree recipe that I found in The Cook's Book for no other reason that it's my personal favourite type of pastry. Using pate sucree is totally unnecessary since it includes ground almonds and sugar, ingredients that are abundant in the filling anyhow, so unless you have an incredibly sweet tooth, Jamie's less decadent dough is probably the way to go.
I buttered my muffin tin well, rolled out the chilled pastry, cut into circles then lined each tin with dough. I then popped the tray into the freezer for half an hour to chill before lining each pastry-case with parchement paper and a few pie weights to bake blind in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.
A teaspoon of jam is added to the base of each pastry shell before the frangipane topping is added. In his book, Jamie's Dinners, he recommends using top quality jam. Lucky for us, here in the Bay Area, top quality jam is a doddle to get hold of, thanks to June Taylor, British goddess of jam-making. Check out her wares at The Still Room. So far I have made Bakewells with her strawberry conserve, her boysenberry conserve and her strawberry/geranium conserve. Naturally, all of them worked out superbly.
The main difference between Jamie's recipe and my adaption of it, is the amount of butter. I think he calls for too much of it. The first time I made it, I had butter running everywhere and I ended up cooking it for three times as long to try and dry it out a bit. I have found that by reducing the amount of butter by just 5 tablespoons Jamie's recipe works much better and is still deliciously moist. I also add a teaspoon of almond extract to the frangipane to enhance its almondness. This tip is especially useful if you use less falvourful pre-ground almonds instead of grinding them yourself.
Adapted Frangipane Filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
12 oz ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 fresh, free-range farm eggs, lightly beaten together
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
- Fold in the eggs, extract and almonds until well blended
- Fill your pie up to the top of the pastry shell with the frangipane
- Sprinkle top of your tarts with almond flakes
- Bake in a 325F for at least 40 minutes until firm to the touch with a golden brown crust.
A note about the filling: This recipe produces a lot of filling. Maybe, even too much for your pie tin to cope with as foodaholic recently found out. I recommend using a deeper pie dish, like this one. Rather than over-fill, bake any excess filling mixture in a separate ramekin or souffle dish. The result is a delicious crustless almond pudding that makes a fantastic breakfast when gently warmed and then served with jam.
Blog Save our Tart!
Links, Resources and Further Reading
Bay Area Resources:
Quality Jam | by June Taylor
Organic Butter | Straus Creamery
Fresh Farm Eggs | Marin Sun Farms
Flaked Almonds | Lagier Ranches
When Sam | met Jamie Oliver and he called her "sweetpea"
Almond Extract | Star Kay White
Andrew's | Almondless, strictly traditional Bakewell
Baking for Britain | A brilliantly informed Bakewell Post.
Alanna's | Rhubarb Bakewell
Helene's | Bakewell Tart
Foodaholic | Tries Jamie's Recipe
The Recipe Book | Jamie's Dinners
The Old Foodie | On Baked Puddings (and other things)
Found on Flickr | Jamie's Bakewell Picture
Leite's Culinaria | reproduces Jamie's original recipe here
Bakewell Tarts | By English Pastis, Caper Berry Gravy, Sarah and fellow Bay-Area Brit, Catherine.
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: The Mystery Vegetable|
Food | Tarts | British | Baking | Bakewell | Jamie Oliver | Desserts | Cooking | English How to Make Bakewell Tarts