There is something quintessentially English about a Bakewell tart. I don’t know why that should be because it is very similar to the quintessentially Spanish Tarta de Santiago and almonds are not exactly native to the UK but, nevertheless, the Bakewell tart is very English.
Bakewell tarts originate in the eponymous town in Derbyshire but before anyone from Bakewell gets in touch I must just say that the tart is NOT the same as the original Bakewell Pudding which is made from puff pastry and almond paste and whose exact ingredients are a closely guarded secret.
If the only Bakewell Tart you have tasted is the apparently “exceedingly good” cherry and fondant topped version that you can buy in supermarkets then you probably don’t understand my enthusiasm. Bake your own and I assure you that you will.
You can eat this hot (with custard) or cold but I like it best at room temperature with a drizzle of pouring cream.
125g Plain Flour
25g Caster Sugar
1 Egg (separated)
150g Caster Sugar
150g Butter (at room temperature)
150g Ground Almonds
3 Eggs plus 1 Egg Yolk
2 heaped tbsp Raspberry Jam
The grated Zest of one Lemon
1 tbsp Flaked Almonds
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C / 350° F / Gas Mark 4
To make the pastry put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together. Alternatively you can do this by hand – rub the butter into the flour and sugar with your fingertips and then stir in the egg yolk and water with a knife.
Shape the pastry into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour.
Grease a 20cm / 8” loose bottomed flan tin. Roll the pastry out quite thinly (about 3mm) and use to line the tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and chill for 20 minutes before trimming the top.
Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Cook for 20 minutes until pale golden. Remove the paper and baking beans, brush the pastry case with egg white and return to the oven for 2 minutes.
Spread the jam in an even layer over the base of the pastry case.
Put the eggs and egg yolk into a bowl and whisk lightly. Cream together the butter and sugar in a separate bowl and gradually add the beaten eggs. Fold in the ground almonds and the lemon zest and use this mixture to fill the pastry case. Level the top and bake for 20 minutes.
Scatter the flaked almonds over the top and cook for another 15-20 minutes until set and a rich, golden brown.
Cool and dust with icing sugar.