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Bakewell Tart

Servings: 8
A Bakewell tart is a traditional English baked dessert tart or cake consisting of a shortcrust pastry shell, spread with jam and covered with a sponge-like filling enriched with ground almonds (know as Frangipane). They may also be covered with nuts such as almonds and peanuts. Alternative flavours, including blackcurrant, strawberry and apple are also produced.

A Cherry Bakewell is small cake, covered with a top layer of icing and a single central half-cherry, also known as a Bakewell Cake.

To some extent, the terms cake and tart are used interchangeably, though most insist the names are recipe specific. Recipes abound, for example those given by Ben Mathews (1839), Eliza Acton (1845), K Morgan , M Bates and Mrs Beeton (1861), and modern commercial examples are to be found in most cake shops and on every supermarket shelf. The name only became common in the 20th Century; the dish was previously known as Bakewell Pudding.

The Derbyshire town of Bakewell claims to be the home of the authentic Bakewell Pudding and many believe it to originally come from the Rushbottom Lane district. Recipes still made there consists of a puff pastry shell with a layer of jam, covered with a filling of eggs, sugar, butter and almonds. This dish is said to be an accidental invention of the 1860s, which occurred when a nobleman visiting the White Horse Inn (now called The Rutland Arms) at Bakewell ordered strawberry tart. The cook, instead of stirring the egg mixture into the cake, spread it on top of the jam.

This recipe, using raspberry jam, is just one of many variations of the Bakewell Tart.

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75g) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/8 cup superfine baker's sugar or caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon cold water
1 egg white

2 heaping tablespoons raspberry jam
2/3 cup (5 oz./150g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup superfine baker's sugar or caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup ground almonds
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons sliced or flaked almonds

Garnish: (optional)
Confectioners' sugar

Serve with:
Custard or whipped cream

To Make the Pastry:
Combine the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor with the pinch of salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and the 1 teaspoon cold water and pulse until the dough comes together. Flatten dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and chill for no more than 1 hour.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. Line an 8-inch fluted tart tin with a depth of 1 1/2-inches with pastry. Prick the bottom of pastry with a fork and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.

Line chilled pastry with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake pastry in preheated oven for 20 minutes until it is a very light golden color. Remove the parchment paper and the dried beans, brush the inside of the pastry with a little egg white and bake for 2 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Leave oven set to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.

To Make the Filling and to Assemble Tart:
Spread the jam in an even layer over the top of slightly cooled pastry.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Gradually add the 3 beaten eggs and egg yolk. Fold in the ground almonds and lemon zest by hand. Carefully spoon the mixture over the jam and using a spatula, level the top of tart. Bake at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C for 30 to 35 minutes, then sprinkle with the sliced almonds and continue to bake for another 5 minutes until almonds brown just slightly.

Place tart on wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with custard or whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Date: June 21, 2007