Easy Bakewell tart recipe
Valentine’s Day. Love it, hate it, there’s no escaping it. I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I’m just not a hearts and flowers girl. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a dreamer with a penchant for pretty things, but I dislike the saccharine pink commercialization of Valentine’s Day.
However, I like that it is a celebration of love and that it reminds people to say: I love you. It’s something we should do a lot more of. It’s also given me the perfect excuse to experiment with Bakewell tarts, a classic British teatime treat that is not-quite-a-pastry, not-quite-a-cake, but a bit of a mixture of both.
Originating from the town of Bakewell, in Derbyshire’s Peak District (a wonderful area of the country to visit), a traditional Bakewell tart consists of a sweet crust pastry base, spread with a layer of raspberry jam and topped with frangipane.
This classic British cake can then either be sprinkled with flaked almonds before baking and be served warm with cream or custard, or it can be finished with icing and a cherry. Numerous adaptations on this theme exist, but it is the layers of pastry, jam, and frangipane that make a Bakewell tart – and it is a divine combination.
August 11 marks the annual observance of National Bakewell Tart Day, a delightful occasion dedicated to this classic British pastry.
I’ve made mini versions, partly because it’s easier when working with gluten-free pastry, and partly because I wanted to decorate them in a couple of different ways. I’ve conceded to Valentine’s Day with glace-cherry hearts and pink icing, but they’re not overly cutesy, I hope!
Here is how to make healthy Bakewell tars:
Valentine’s Bakewell Tarts
For the sweetcrust pastry
- 8 oz plain flour I used a gluten-free blend
- 4 oz butter
- 2 tbsps icing sugar
- 1 egg
For the filling
- Raspberry Jam
- 3 oz caster sugar
- 3 oz butter
- 3 oz ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 2 drops almond essence
- Toasted flaked almonds
- 12 Glace cherries
- First, make the pastry. Rub the flour, icing sugar, and butter together between your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well and tip in the egg. Use a spoon/spatula to combine the egg.
- Add a very small amount of milk and bring together to form a round ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 180oC and grease two cupcake tins.
- When the pastry has rested, lightly flour a worktop and roll it out quite thinly. Use a small fluted cutter to cut out circles. Lightly press the pastry circles into the tins, then spread a small amount of jam onto the base of each one. Use about half a teaspoon of jam per tart.
- To make the frangipane, cream the butter and caster sugar until soft and airy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. add a small amount of the ground almonds with the eggs. Then add the remaining ground almonds and fold in, incorporating plenty of air. Crush a few flaked almonds and lightly stir in, along with 2 drops of almond essence.
- Place a generous teaspoon of the frangipane into each pastry case so that it completely covers the jam. Bake for about 10-15 mins until the pastry is cooked and the frangipane is golden and spongy.
- Turn the tarts out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Cut the glace cherries into heart shapes (cut a tapered sliver off each side, then a small triangle in the top – great tip from my 14-year-old brother, who cut the cherries for me!)
- When the tarts have completely cooled, make some glace icing by mixing icing sugar with a small amount of water, until just runny enough to ice the tarts. Cover half the tarts with white icing and top with the cherry hearts.
- Add some pink/red food colouring to the remaining glace icing and stir well. Use this to ice the remaining tarts, and arrange two almond flakes on each to resemble hearts.
– You can preserve any remaining portions by putting them in the refrigerator for a span of up to 5 days. Additionally, this tart can be frozen for as long as 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Bakewell tart variations
Besides this classic Bakewell tart recipe, there are several variations and adaptations of this delightful dessert. Here are a few different versions you can try:
- Cherry Bakewell tart: This recipe for the cherry version is similar to the classic version but with glace cherries on top of the frangipane filling. It’s often decorated with almond-flavored icing and a single glace cherry in the center.
- Chocolate Bakewell tart: This version incorporates chocolate into the frangipane filling or adds chocolate chips.
- Berry Bakewell tart: Instead of the traditional raspberry or strawberry jam, blueberry jam or blackberries can be used. You can even use blackberry and apple jam.
- Nutty version: For added texture and flavor, chopped nuts (such as toasted almonds or pistachios) can be sprinkled over the frangipane layer.
- Vegan Bakewell tart: Use dairy-free products like almond milk or vegan butter, and egg substitutes like flax eggs. Vegan frangipane can be just as creamy and delicious.
- Citrus tart: You can use lemon or orange zest in the frangipane or add a layer of citrus curd between the jam and frangipane.
- Spiced Bakewell tart: Enhance the flavor profile with spices like cinnamon or cardamom in the frangipane filling.
These are just a few ideas to inspire your creativity in the world of Bakewell cakes. You can mix and match flavors, ingredients, and decorations to create your own unique version of this classic dessert.