Thursday 2 September 2021

bakewell tart

I love Bakewell tart, in all its forms, and not just from a nostalgic childhood attachment. There are large tarts, mini tarts, slices, layer cakes, it can be plain or iced, made with any flavour of jam, even fruit mince at Christmas, just please, no candied peel. This version is a modest 20cm tart, baked in a 4.5cm deep loose based cake tin, but any tart or pie tin of similar dimensions will work well. There's a little flour and baking powder in the recipe, it's not traditional, but I love the lightness and lift it adds. Raspberry or cherry jam are my favourites, I used the ends of a jar of raspberry here, maybe about 2 tablespoons, don't be like me, use the recommended 4, you want a good jammy layer for flavour and sweetness. The tart was made in my Magimix food processor, it comes together so quickly, with minimum washing up!

As always I use jumbo eggs, they weigh about 55g without the shell, if you have smaller eggs it's a good idea to weigh them to get the same amount. If you need to add a partial egg, beat it first then carefully add to reach the desired weight. I wouldn't worry too much about the weight of the yolk in the pastry, you'll likely need slightly more water if your egg yolk is smaller, the end result maybe slightly firmer, but so many things influence the pastry it's not worth worrying about.

For something sweeter, and my youngest's "preferred" bakewell, try John Whaite's bakewell slice, it's a winner.

bakewell tart

180g caster sugar
180g ground almonds
40g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
180g butter, soft at room temperature
3 jumbo eggs, 165g shelled
1/2 tsp almond extract
25g sliced almonds
4 tbsp raspberry jam
tart shell, recipe below

• preheat oven to 180ºC, 160ºC fan
• add the caster sugar, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, eggs and almond extract and blitz, on medium if your processor has a speed setting, until smooth, 20-30 seconds
• spread the jam over the base of the tart shell, pour the batter over the jam and level with the back of a spoon, sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top
• bake for 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden, and the centre of the tart feels firm when pressed gently, remove from the oven and leave on a rack to cool
• serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, ice cream or just as is
• store in an airtight container for up to 4 days

tart shell

220g plain flour
120g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk, I use a jumbo, reserve the white to use as a wash
2 tbsp cold water

• have your tart pan handy, I use a 20cm by 4.5cm loose bottom tin
• tip the four and butter into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, pulse until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs, add the icing sugar and give it a quick pulse to combine
• add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of iced water, pulse in long bursts until the mixture starts to clump, you may need to add the second tablespoon of water, perhaps more if your flour is particularly absorbent
• tip the clumpy mix onto your bench and use your hands to bring it together into a ball, flatten the ball into a disc, about 1cm thick, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
• remove the pastry from the fridge, let is sit on the bench for 10 minutes, then roll on a lightly floured bench to 3-4mm thick, turning as you go. Carefully place the pastry over the tin, ease into base and up the sides, be sure to gently press the into the join where the base meets the sides. Roll a rolling pin over the tart tin to trim the excess pastry, a slight bulge may appear in the pastry at the edge of the tin, gently press to flatten, then return the tart shell to the fridge for half an hour. You will have pastry left over, keep a walnut sized piece, just in case for repairs, form the rest into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and stash in the freezer for a future pastry adventure, it will keep for a month.
• towards the end of the chilling time, preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) and place a baking tray in the centre of the oven
• take a sheet of baking paper slightly larger than the tin, screw it into a ball and open it a few times to soften it, line the pastry case with the paper, and fill with pastry weights right up to the rim (I use a mix of dried lentils and beans). Place the tin in the oven on the hot tray and bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and weights, use the reserved pasty to mend any holes or cracks that have appeared, gently prick the base all over with the tines of a fork, and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the base no longer looks wet. Whisk the reserved egg white and a teaspoon of water with a fork, use a pastry brush to paint the inside of the tart shell with the egg white wash. Return the tart shell to the oven for a final 10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack, when completely cold it is ready to fill.

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