It’s cold outside, very cold. In fact its snowing around most of the UK at the moment. When the weather is like this, I just want to eat warm, comforting food. I saw someone making a Bakewell Tart on the Food Network a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. So I decided to try it out for myself at the weekend.
I must say, it looked a hell of a lot easier on TV than it turned out in practice! I decided to use a recipe by the Hairy Bikers as a guide. However, I didn’t make my own pastry, I just bought a block of JusRol sweet shortcrust pastry. Over the years I have learnt that pastry hates me so I don’t even try to make it anymore. Also, I don’t have time. Why bother when you can buy it ready made and often, ready-rolled? Life is too short.
So I have included the instructions that the Hairy Bikers give for their pastry should you have the time and inclination to make it yourself. Otherwise, just buy some ready-made next time you’re at the supermarket.
For the pastry
425g/15oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 free-range egg, beaten
2 free-range egg yolks
250g/9oz unsalted butter
100g/3½oz caster sugar
½ tsp salt
50g/2oz ground almonds
For the filling
400g/14oz ground almonds
175g/6oz caster sugar
6 free-range eggs, beaten
½ tsp almond extract
3 tbsp raspberry jam
30g/2oz flaked almonds
Handful of fresh raspberries
If you’re making the pastry from scratch, place the flour, salt, sugar, butter and almonds into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time and pulse until a smooth dough is formed. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/Gas 4 and grease and flour a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin.
Unwrap the chilled pastry (either bought or homemade) and roll out onto a cold, floured work surface. I personally prefer to roll pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper.
Line the tart tin with the pastry and trim off any excess. (As you can see, I did not do this, see below!) Prick the base with a fork, then cover the pastry lightly with some baking parchment.
Cover the parchment with baking beans or uncooked rice and place into the oven to bake blind for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and remove the baking beans or rice and the baking parchment and set aside to cool. If the pastry base is still a little raw, return to the oven for a minute or two to dry out.
As you can see from the photo on the left, the untrimmed pastry attracted all the heat and burned whereas the pastry that was covered came out raw (I told you pastry hates me). After posting the photo on Twitter asking for advice, I was told to trim the burnt bits and to place the pastry back into the oven for a few more minutes to cook through, hence the photo on the right.
To make the filling, place the ground almonds and caster sugar into a bowl and mix well. Add the beaten eggs and almond essence and mix well.
When the pastry has cooled spread a generous layer of raspberry jam onto the pastry base.
Top with flaked almonds. I thought it would be nice to add a few raspberries to make it look a bit prettier.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is baked through and golden-brown all over.
Serve warm or cold (I prefer warm) with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of double cream. I sieved some fresh raspberries and mixed with a little icing sugar and stirred it through the cream to make a ripple effect.
And there you have it, a wonderfully comforting, sweet Bakewell tart, perfect for those days when you need warming up.