Informal Bakewell Tart

Having recovered from the Danish Pastry challenge following validation from my youngest who kindly proof tested each and declared they were a triumph, I contemplated making “Bakewell Tart” for a few days and during a rare outing with “himself” and a moment of weakness I purchased almond extract and ground almonds (please note this “moment of weakness” happens every time I am close by ANYTHING resembling baking ingredients☺️).  

The main issue I have is that having stayed with family in Hope Valley and visited the picture pretty town of Bakewell where they take this little tart (and it’s softer served warm cousin the Bakewell Pudding) rather seriously and based on the several “original recipes” for sale it looks a nothing like the GBBO version! I mean seriously even the local Spar attached to the petrol station has “The Original Recipe Bakewell Tart” for sale.

Sooooooo, as the ingredients winked, whistled and danced in front of me every time I was close by my baking dresser, I finally relented whilst dog sitting on a rainy Sunday and with a little fluffy Bonnie at my feet I washed my shiny new 23cm fluted loose bottom pie tin purchased by “himself” for me as a little surprise while grocery shopping in Sainsburys – further validation as to why I married him- and put on my oven!!!!

Now to start, the basic short crust recipe I use is not sweet – how much more different can it be I thought……hmm after considering no less than 30 recipes dating from The Grammes Have Come 1972 Winifred Graham (favourite book as it’s stuffed full of my mum’s old recipes handwritten on all sorts of debris paper and has conversion tables predating me) to Bake with Maw Broon created circa 1980 published 2014 ☺️ to my latest birthday gift from “K&V”, Martha Collison’s Twist 2016 I decided to go with a mix of all as the older recipes require Lard and having grown up with a veggie for a dad this simply feels like betrayal 😀!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry 

–  250g plain flour

–  125g cold cubed butter (1oz butter + 1oz Trex/Lard – should your conscience allow)

–  125g icing sugar

–  pinch of salt – aka 1/4 tsp – I dislike the whole “pinch” which varies from nimble to chunky fingers

–  1 large egg yolk

–  4 tbsp icy cold water 

In a food processor pulse the flour, salt and butter till it looks like bread crumbs. Add the sugar and told and pulse till jus combined – NOW is the important part – add a Tbsp of cold water at a time till it starts to come away from the side and looks like a crumbly dough (don’t add too much as wet dough is hard to rescue for Shortcrust Pastry). Tip the contents on to a lightly floured surface and gently form into a smooth ball. Put in clingfilm or one of my favourite Zip Lock bags and chill for minimum 30 mins.

Lightly butter your tin using a pastry brush to cover all the little fluted crevices and sprinkle with plain flour. 

Preheat your oven to 160c fan or 170c conventional oven (gas mark 3-4).

Once your dough is firm and chilled, roll to 3-4mm (don’t go getting a ruler out just be brave and use your eye as it’s around a pound coin thickness-ish ). Lift by draping over your rolling pin (or wine bottle if that’s you’re tool. 😬) and carefully but quickly line the tin. I use leftover dough in a ball to press the dough into the corners as hot hands kill Shortcrust Pastry pastry. Prick with a fork on the base and I put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Cut a circle of greaseproof paper larger than the tin and place over the pastry then cover with baking beans or as I use dried marrowfat peas (much cheaper) – bake for 15 minutes in/on the middle shelf then remove the paper and beans and put back in the over for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and after 5 minutes cover the inside base with fairly thin covering ie 2-3 tablespoons of good raspberry jam and set aside.

Frangipane Filling

– 100g unsalted butter

– 100g caster sugar

– 2 large eggs whisked

– 50g plain flour

–  75g ground almonds

– A drop of almond extract (Tip –  mix this into the whisked eggs)

Cream the butter and sugar till pale and light using either a K-beater or electric hand whisk (takes around 5 minutes with electric or 10 and blood sweat & tears by hand) add the eggs with almond extract and the plain flour and mix till combined and smooth and finally add the almonds. don’t over mix so all in all this takes around 7 minutes!

Now you want to get this covering the jam base with as little disruption as possible, so either use 2 spoons (as done in fairy cakes) or a icecream (mashed tattie scoop if you are Scottish/Irish decent 😀) or a piping bag with no nozzle just cut at the bottom leaving a pound coin size hole (see a trend forming here??). Once covered and (relatively) smooth pop in the oven for around 25-30 minutes. I twirl mine half way through as I have crappydooda oven. Once a skewer/toothpick/cake tester (yes I own one) comes out clean when put in the centre, it’s ready.  Leave to cool completely in the tin and then ice or not!


–  200g icing sugar

–  cold water

–  1/4 tsp almond extract or as I do a lid full

–  red food colouring

Mix the icing sugar with the almond extract and water till it films a thick pouring consistency. Pour 1/4 into a dish and mix in some red food dye to your preferred colour! (Careful this stains hands etc and is potent so a little goes a loooooong way). Pop this into either a squeeze nozzle bottle (I keep any home hair dye kit ones I don’t use and sanitise for this 😀) or pop into a piping bag/ freezer bag snipped at the corner leaving a knitting needle size hole. Drizzle the white icing over the tart and smooth the pastry edge, then using the red icing draw lines across create Feathering, take a tooth pick and drag down the lines in alternate direction. As you will see, due to my current shaky hands my first also product is very informal and homemade 😛! 

Once set remove from the loose bottom tin by placing over a small bowl and releasing The side of the tart tin. Eh voilà 🙌🙌🙌

#baking #bakingtherapy #pandorabakes #madeinscotland #ayrshire #pursuitofhappiness

A slither for the “Mither-in-law” on her vintage plate with one of my 3 trillion snazzy pastry forks! Quality testing of course!

Finally a little pic of “my bonnie Bonnie” 

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