Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bakewell Tart (tarta Bakewell)

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. 

Bakewell Tart
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.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you mix up the almond filling.  Lower oven temperature to 350F-degrees.

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!


  1. Hello Susan....Oh, how I would like to try a small slice tonite with my after dinner coffee.
    I believe, if I did not have any experience baking, I could still make this tart by following your wonderful directions in photos...

    1. It's one of the first ones I made in pastry school and is so easy, I know it by heart. However it was fun to try out some new things after translating the cookbook my son-in-law gave only made it better. I wish you were near to share a slice too. XOXO

  2. It's so lovely, Susan...Regal and very elegant. I can almost smell it. :) I'd love a slice tomorrow AM, of course. A little warmed and with my coffee. I need a little sweet treat to to look forward to sometimes when the work week hasn't been the greatest. :) I will make this and will plan to add some booze, it that's okay. I had wanted to use Frangelico/hazelnuts in something really fabulous. Do you think this will work? I'm not sure about the hazelnut flour/meal...

    1. The hazelnut flour will work perfect! May I suggest raspberry jam with a little Chambord! Love ya and do wish you were here for a slice, XOXO

    2. Sounds lovely...I've really wanted to add Chambord to the BIWB collection, and the bottle is pretty cute too. Can I do another combo with apricot or peach jam? I make those james so have lots on hand. :)

    3. Since apricots and peach are in the same family as almonds--use Amaretto as an addition to the jam. <3

  3. What a wonderful treat---it looks absolutely delectable! I also think I could make this dessert following your step by step instructions with the photos. Then too, you make everything look soooooo easy!! Hugs, Barb

    1. ...and it is! You have some new things to wow the S & B group :-D

  4. This looks great Susan! I am really proud of how you tackled the Spanish cookbook. I hope it was fun!

    Un abrazo muy fuerte,


  5. This looks absolutely scrumptious!! How much fun to be able to bake from a Spanish cookbook. I think you are so right about us all baking and being so much alike--we are more alike than different! Give peace a chance!
    Martha Ellen