I suddenly had a yearning to make a Bakewell Tart last week. Together with scones, I think that a moist, tasty Bakewell Tart is a good indicator that a café has a great baker on board.
This led me to an enjoyable time searching through my cookbooks and reading some fascinating articles. What exactly, is a Bakewell Tart? In the older cookery books recipes had no almonds in them, and some had lemon peel added. How unexpected! Most did have strawberry or raspberry jam, although one recipe had lemon curd at the bottom.
The first recorded recipe for Bakewell Tart dates back to 1863, but its origins date centuries earlier. Those that are made and sold in Bakewell, Derbyshire are quite different to others found elsewhere – much more custardy.
In a 2013 article in the Guardian, Felicity Cloake set out to make the perfect Bakewell Tart.
Having made Felicity’s tart, and created my own version. I’d suggest the key is making a fresh compôte of fruit rather than use jam. You need beautiful shortcrust pastry too. I disagree with Felicity here, shortcrust with an egg is the one that works best in my eyes. I’ve a dislike of almond essence, so my almondy sponge is subtle, and not in your face, no falseness here.
A Bakewell Tart is a little time consuming, but there are several places you can stop and come back to the tart to complete it. I am sure it will become a favourite – there are more than 9000 posts on Instagram so far!
Blueberry Bakewell Tart
- 160 gr plain flour
- 90 gr butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 200 gr blueberries
- 25 gr sugar
- 5 gr cornflour
- 100 gr ground almonds
- 25 gr self raising flour
- 125 gr butter
- 125 gr sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 medium eggs
- 20 gr flaked almonds
- Place the flour, butter and salt into a food processor. Mix until it become fine crumbs.
- Add the egg and mix until it forms a ball. You should not need any more liquid, but if it is very dry add a teaspoon of water and mix again.
- The pastry will be soft, but carefully roll out and line a tin approx 23 cm in diameter, which has been lightly buttered.
- Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour. You could leave this overnight.
- In the meantime, make the compote.
- Add the fruit and sugar to a small pan and cook through. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes making sure it does not catch. Add the cornflour mixed with a tablespoon of water and cook until thickened.
- Set aside to cool before using. Keep in the fridge until you need it.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C, 350°F or Gas 4. Take your tart out of the fridge.
- Line the tart with baking parchment or greaseproof, then add baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the parchment and beans. Return to the oven and cooking for a further 5-7 minutes until golden but not brown as you will be baking the case again. Timing will very much depend on your oven.
- Remove from the oven and let the case cool slightly.
- Prepare the sponge whilst your tart is baking.
- Cream the butter and sugar together with the zest of lemon in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer.
- Mix the flour, almonds and baking powder together.
- Beat the eggs and add slowly to the butter and sugar mixture adding a little of the flour and almond mixture as you go to stop curdling until both the egg and flour mixture are used up.
- Spread the compote in an even layer over the bottom of the tart
- Now add the almond sponge. Dot dessertspoons of mixture over the compote. Gently use a fork to draw the mixture over the compote. Do not worry if a little of the compote gets mixed in.
- You will add your flaked almonds once the mixture has start to set.
- Place the tart in the oven on a tray. After 10 minutes, carefully take out of the oven and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
- Place back in the oven and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until golden. This will very much depend on your oven. Just keep an eye on it as you do not want it to dry out.
- Serve warm.
Find out more
Read Ivan Day’s Food History Blog for a fascinating overview on Bakewell Tarts.
The Original Bakewell Tart Shop is in Bakewell, Derbyshire.