Well, I have just been on the internet researching Bakewell Tart. Predictably, it says that originally it hails from the picturesque town of Bakewell in the Derbyshire Dales near the Peak District in England.It already sounds romantic, doesn’t it? And that there is a difference between a Bakewell Tart and a Bakewell Pudding. Both of them need a pastry base and then an almond- based filling, pretty similar as far as I can see. Ah, no, I see that the tart uses shortcrust pastry while the pudding is made from puff pastry. All I know is that it is my Turkish husband’s absolute favourite English dessert – he can’t resist it! And another thing, so long as you know how to make good pastry, it is really such an easy yummy dessert to make. It is described as a ‘Comfort Pud’. At this time of year, it has real taste appeal. Is it those almonds?
Here in Istanbul, finding ground almonds is one of those magical, tantalizing quests: sometimes you are lucky and sometimes, especially when you are really counting on them, you just can’t find them. We have almond trees in our garden in Assos but you know what, almonds are not easy nuts to crack.Literally. You have to be really determined to get to the heart. So when we were in Lisbon in October and I saw a generously-sized bag of ground almonds in the nearby supermarket, we grabbed it. I should have grabbed five. It does simplify matters.
175g/6oz plain flour
85g/3oz chilled butter, cut into dice
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp good-quality raspberry jam
25g/1oz flaked almonds
FOR THE FILLING (known as frangipane)
85g/3oz ground almonds/toz badem
85g/3oz butter, at room temperature
85g/3oz golden castor sugar (I used simple granulated sugar)
3 eggs, beaten
1-2 drops of almond essence
FOR THE ICING
25g/1oz icing sugar
§ Gently heat the ground almonds for the filling in a small frying pan, stirring often, to lightly brown. Cool. Rub the flour and diced, chilled butter together with your fingers to make fine crumbs (or use a food processor). Stir in the icing sugar, then the yolk, then gradually add 3 tbsp cold water or enough so the dough comes together. Gather it into a ball.
§ Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 4cm deep 20cm fluted flan tin, fitting the pastry into each flute so it doesn’t shrink while baking. Chill 1 hr.
§ Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for 12 mins, then remove paper and beans and bake a further 5 mins. Lower the heat to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar for the filling with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition – the mixture will look curdled. Lightly fold in the ground almonds and almond essence.
§ Spread the jam over the base of the pastry. Pour over the almond filling, sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 25-30 mins until nicely brown.
Cool slightly. To make the icing, sift the sugar into a bowl and stir in a few drops of cold water to make a thickish consistency. Drizzle it over the tart.
Will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight tin.
1. This recipe is tried and tested and comes from one of my favourite sources, BBC Good Food. Other recipes I read, including Jamie’s, use much more butter than this. He also uses 50g semolina which is mixed in along with the ground almonds for the filling which may or may not be a good thing. And finally he recommends sifting a little icing sugar over the finished tart instead of doing the drizzling. I saw the picture and prefer this look! In fact, there are lots of images on the net of all sorts of different versions of this, including as an iced tartlet with a cherry stuck on top (Cherry Bakewell), with much more jam than I have here, and with much less flaked almonds on top. Again, I think sprinkled all over looks best.
2. It really should be raspberry jam but of course if you haven’t got it, use another red jam. Failing red, whatever you have!
3. Oh, and I have a confession to make: the recipe says the pastry should be chilled for 1 hr. Well, I put it in the fridge and then twiddled my thumbs a bit; I went off and made the bed and still only half an hour had passed. And then I took it out and carried on! It was fine. And as for that business with the paper and beans, I didn’t do that: I simply pricked the base all over with a fork and that was fine too.
4. We had guests for dinner on Saturday night and this is what I made for dessert. I served it with whipped cream and it was delicious.Turhan had the last little sliver for breakfast.