Bakewell tart – it’s tasty, easy and nothing beats homemade

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You guys know how much I love a slice of Bakewell tart with a cup of tea. I’ve even shared my homage in the bakewell muffin, but it occurred to me this week that I’ve never actually shared my Bakewell tart recipe with you guys. Shocking oversight, so since I fancied a wee slice today, here goes.

Firstly, do not worry, it is actually really easy. Even the pastry and here’s why.

There is no shame in using a food processor. Quick and easy. I know lots of people think it’s cheating, Kate included, but you need cold hands, like really cold to be able to work pastry and some of us just run warm. So you know what, that’s just life and if there is a tool that can help, then why is it a bad thing? After all, the folk who say “just keep running your hands under the cold tap” – notice they are saying the cold tap and not just keep running down to the local stream?

So if you struggle with traditional methods then stay tuned cause I’m gonna use a stand mixer too! To hell with it!

So you will need:

Ingredients for the pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • Pinch of slat
  • 100g unsalted butter, Straight form the fridge and diced into little cubes about the size of a pea
  • 1 beaten, free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp milk (if you need it)

Ingredients for the filling

  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature this time
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 beaten, free-range eggs, at room temperature again
  • 150g ground almonds
  • Zest of an unwaxed lemon
  • Roughly 4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Roughly 2 tbsp flaked almonds

The pastry is the most time consuming task and we do that first. I’ll give you both ways of doing this, the traditional and the quick.

Traditional method for making pastry

In a big, cold bowl, sift in the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Then using the very tips of your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it forms fine bread crumbs. This takes a while, but try not to touch the mixture too much, just your finger tips as you don’t want the butter to melt.

Now add the beaten eggs and milk and gently start to squeeze it together to form a firm dough, again try not to handle it too much. Be quick as you can.

Now wrap that ball of dough in cling film and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Quick method for making pastry

Sift your flour, salt and icing sugar into the bowl of your food processor (with the large blade attached), add the diced butter and pulse until you get breadcrumbs. Add you beaten egg and milk and then pulse another few times to bring it together.

Tip the now very, very, slightly, sticky breadcrumbs onto the worktop and bring together into a ball of dough, You don’t kneed, just bring it together.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Once chilled for at least 30 minutes (this will make it easier to roll), get your dough out and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. You want the thickness of a pound coin.

Now grease the hell out of a loose-bottomed baking tin, about 23cm in size. Line the tin with the pastry, but try not to stretch it when tucking it into the edges, let it fall naturally if you can and push down from the top of the pastry if needed.

You want to trim the excess, but not right down to the edge as pastry always shrinks a little bit. It’s better to properly trim at the end, so leave a little wiggle room here, maybe a cm and prick all over the bottom with a fork. This will help to stop it rising in the over.

Chill for 30 minutes again. This helps to stop it shrinking too much.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C with a baking sheet in there.

Cooking your pastry

It’s getting exciting now, we are almost there. Take the pastry out the fridge and line the pastry with scrunched up baking paper (scrunching it up makes it easier to fit to the pastry as it’s more pliable) and fill this with baking beans or rice. This is going to weight everything down and help to stop the pastry rising.

Now put this on the pre-heated baking sheet and bake (this is called blind baking) for 15 minutes. Then remove the beans/rice and paper and cook for another 5 minutes until pale golden and dry on top.

Filling (my favourite bit)

And now I bring in my stand mixer (my favourite kitchen appliance).

By hand

Put your butter and sugar in a big bowl and beat it together with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Be prepared this takes ages and hurts your arm. Once it’s really pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs a little bit at a time, then fold in the lemon zest.

With a stand mixer

Put your butter and sugar in the bowl of your mixer and beat it until pale and fluffy, takes about 5 minutes. Once it’s really pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs a little bit at a time, then fold in the lemon zest.

Now for the jam, spread it evenly across the base of the pastry. I like a nice thick layer, it goes all gorgeous once it’s baked.

Then spoon over the filling mixture, levelling the surface with the back of the spoon or palate knife when you are done.

Lastly scatter over the flaked almonds and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden, well risen and just set in the centre. A skewer should come out clean.

Now the hardest part, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Then nom with a mug of earl grey and some clotted cream.

A wee alternative

You don’t have to always make this as a tart to slice. What about mini, individual tarts, or tiny bite sized mouthfuls or even a tray bake.

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