The Bakewell Tart is a traditional English dessert native to the town of Bakewell, Derbyshire. One of the earliest accounts of this dessert is in a book called Mrs. Beeton's Cookbook (aka Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Mangement) from 1861. Typically, the tart consists of a shortcrust pastry (masa), a layer of jam (mermelada de fresa), and a sponge-like filling from ground almonds (relleno), known as frangipane.
I love making this tart, first, because it's easy and secondly, you can be creative with the jam and/or nuts you choose to use. Since I had just made a fresh batch of strawberry jam, that's what I used, but I could have easily substituted raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc. and this tart would have been just as scrumptious.
This isn't a tart that my mother ever made, although, if she had known about it, I know she would have. However, we certainly picked a lot of strawberries together and made jam, so partly this does bring back memories in her kitchen. Also, my son-in-law, Matt, who is in Madrid for the year on a Fulbright Scholarship, gave me a wonderful new cookbook for Christmas and tarta Bakewell was one of the recipes in Postres~Las Mas Irressistibles Recetas. As you might have guessed from my first paragraph, the book is in Spanish and I'm excited to relate something I know to the language both he and now my grandson, Ari speaks.
The Spanish version of tarta Bakewell did influence my recipe by incorporating some of the uniqueness of it. I used a combination of both granulated sugar (azucar de lustre) and brown sugar (azucar de moreno) in addition to substituting the all-purpose flour for a one-third cup of rice flour (harina de arroz). Fingers crossed it looks and smells great baking.
Perfect Pie Dough
1" x 8" removable bottom tart pan
1/3 cup Strawberry Jam (or your favorite)
14T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 tsp. Almond extract
1 cup finely ground almonds (or almond flour)
1/3 cup rice flour
About 1/2 cup Sliced almonds for the topping
Preheat oven to 400F-degrees. Place on a baking sheet and blind-bake the tart shell for 10 minutes.
|Prick the surface with a fork...|
|...or line the bottom of the tart with wax paper and use pie weights.|
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars completely. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating them into the butter/sugar mixture. Add the almond extract and mix to blend. Add the ground almonds and rice flour and mix just until incorporated.
Spread the strawberry jam on the bottom of the pre-baked tart, spreading it with an off-set spatula to cover completely.
Spoon dollops of the almond mixture onto the strawberry jam and use an off-set spatula to spread over it, covering the jam layer.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sliced almonds on top and bake (keeping tart on a baking sheet) for 30 to 35 minutes until it's a lovely golden brown on top.
Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
I can't help thinking, while I was creating my version of this Bakewell Tart, with the influence of the Spanish recipe from this treasured cookbook, that maybe through baking we could have a peaceful co-existance among all cultures--it's a thought ;-D! Enjoy!