I am a sucker for frangipane. So when I saw this recipe I knew that I had to try it. Bakewell Tart with its custardy frangipane and jam filling topped with flaked almonds is my idea of heaven. It uses a short-crust pastry or pasta frolla which just melts in your mouth. And while this could be made in a springform pan, it is so much prettier if made in a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Just be sure to use a deep pan that will accommodate all of that luscious frangipane.
There is no one single recipe for a Bakewell Tart and I did have to tweak the instructions somewhat to make them easier to follow. Whenever choosing a recipe to make for the first time, I check out several variations to see which ones are well-written and whenever possible have photos and comments. Some recipes had fancy glazes on top and others (like this one) used only flaked almonds. The dessert only dates back to the 20th century and is associated with the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England.
Butter is a significant ingredient to this dessert, so please don’t skimp on a cheap butter and do not use salted butter. Salted butter may be fine for cooking but I never use it in my baking. While not above using substitutions in some recipes, there are also times when only the real thing works. People always used to ask me for recipes and then would tell me later that it didn’t taste the same as when I made it. The implication was that somehow I had deliberately left out my “secret” ingredient. However, with a little detective work, I found that it was simply a case of poor substitutions being used or things left out.
And while butter is a primary ingredient, so are almonds in several forms. Please do not use artificial extracts. They spoil the end result. One substitution you can make is in the kind of preserves you use. If you don’t make your own jam (and I don’t) just use a quality brand that lists the fruit as the first ingredient. I made this with strawberry jam this time because that is what I had on hand, but I want to try it with raspberry curd the next time I make my Bakewell Tart. And there will be a next time!
Bakewell Tart is a rich dessert so is the perfect end to a lighter meal when a little decadence is called for. Stored properly, it will last for several days. Unless your house is quite warm, it does not need to be refrigerated. Just enjoy this deceptively simple dessert, redolent with almonds and butter.
This is an English recipe and the ingredients were given by weight. I have been using weights vs. measure lately when it is called for and find that it is more accurate. No matter how you fill or pack a measuring cup, 200 gr will always be 200 gr.
And while I don’t use store-bought pastry dough (other than puff pastry) you can use it if you really want. It won’t melt in your mouth the way homemade will, but I get that not everyone wants to fuss with dough.
For other delicious frangipane dessert ideas:
Yield: 8 servings
For the pastry
200 gr. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon confectioner’s or icing sugar plus more for garnish
125 gr. cold unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg yolk
For the filling
180 gr. unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 gr. granulated or caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
180 gr. finely ground almonds
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
226 to 283 gr. good quality preserves (raspberry, strawberry, cherry etc.) [I used 8.5 oz. but would be happy to use 10 oz. next time.]
25 gr. sliced (flaked) almonds
For the pastry
Sieve the flour and confectioner’s sugar into the bowl of a food processor (this can also be done by hand). Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Pulse a couple of times to coat the butter. The pieces should be about the size of English peas. Add the egg yolk and 2 tsp. of cold water. Mix until the dough just begins to form a ball.
Press the dough into the pan, being sure to go about 2/3 of the way up the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm.) fluted tart pan (measured across the top) which is at least 2.5 inches deep. Chill for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. (180oC, fan 160oC). Dock the pastry (prick it all over with a fork) and line the shell with foil. Use either dried beans or pie weights to fill the pastry shell on top of the foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Then carefully remove the foil and beans (the beans can be used again and again) and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Do not turn off your oven but remove the partially baked pastry shell to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.
While the pastry is cooling, make the filling.
For the filling
Using the food processor cream the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the salt, ground almonds and almond extract. Pulse until fluffy and smooth.
Once the pastry is mostly cool, spread the preserves evenly on the bottom of the pastry shell. Then carefully dollop the frangipane on top so as not to disturb the preserves. Smooth the frangipane with the back of a spatula or spoon. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top.
Baking times can vary, but you want the frangipane to just set. Start checking it after 35 minutes. Mine took about 45 minutes. It was still a bit more jiggly than I wanted so I turned off my oven, slightly opened the door and left the tart in the oven for another 8 minutes. It was beautifully browned and just set. The tart will continue to set as it cools.
Cool completely on a wire rack before you try to remove it from the pan. Once it is thoroughly cool you can decorate it with a bit of sifted powdered (confectioner’s or icing) sugar.