I love this time of year. The weather is cold and dry (though the dry part could end quite soon here in the West!), perfect for evening runs and weekend strolls around town. I really don’t mind the unpredictability of the Galway weather once we get a spell of cool, calm weather like this every so often. Of course, I’ll conveniently forget all this next time it rains for 30 days on the trot and dream of flying south in the winter like the birds. As the weather gets colder, I just crave warm, comforting dinners, filling soups, and rich cakes and puddings. Not quite the ‘light eating’ you get used to in the milder summer months. Though I guess a little of what you fancy can’t be bad?
This is my first time making a bakewell tart. I’ve had a near try before with the bakewell cake, which was a big hit. I am an almond fiend, so it was only a matter of time before I tackled the traditional bakewell tart. Except, I couldn’t leave well alone and leave the recipe as it was. We are flat out of raspberry jam (or any red jam) so I opted for the (more seasonal?) rhubarb jam, which was kindly gifted to me by a friend. I doubled the amount of jam in the original recipe too. I also threw in some almond extract in case the ground almonds weren’t enough of an almond hit on their own.
Did I mention I love almond?
However, if your almond desires are more modest, leave the extract out, or ramp it back to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon.
Original recipe from BBC Good Food (you can find it here). My adapted recipe is below.
What You Need:
For the pastry:
125g plain flour
75g unsalted butter, cold and diced
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
For the filling:
4 tbsp rhubarb jam (or raspberry or cherry if you’re feeling more traditional)
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten (I used 3 large eggs)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp almond extract (or less, optional)
150g ground almonds
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsp flaked almonds
Note: When making the pastry, the egg white is required only to seal the pastry base – you won’t need much. I took the remaining egg white, along with the leftover egg white from the filling and popped them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Be sure to label the bag so you know how many whites are in there. They’re handy to have in the freezer for emergency meringues!
What To Do:
Firstly, make the pastry. Whizz the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor with a pinch of salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 tsp cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together.
Flatten in to a disk, cover with cling film and chill for less than an hour. Lightly grease a 10inch pie dish. Roll out the pastry and line the pie dish with the pastry. I found the pastry really difficult to work with – it cracked and fell apart a lot.
Epic fail. And that was my second attempt at rolling it out.
Anyway, I trimmed the edges and used the scraps to patch it all up. Prick the pastry base with a fork and put it back in the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan), line the pastry base with parchment paper and fill with baking beans.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden (I left mine in a little too long so the very edges were quite golden) and remove the baking beans. Brush the base with a little egg white to seal and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Next, get cracking on the filling. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten eggs and yolk. The mixture may start to curdle slightly if you add the eggs too quickly. A tablespoon of the ground almonds can help to pull it back. Mix well.
Add the almond extract, if using. Fold in the ground almonds and lemon zest. Spoon the jam onto the pastry base and spread out well.
Add the almond mixture, smoothing out to the edges to give an even layer.
If, like mine, the edges of the pastry base have started to brown a bit during the pre-baking stage, cover the tart loosely with aluminium foil for the first half of baking. This will stop the edges becoming very well done and drying out. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven (remove the foil if using) and scatter the flaked almonds over the top of the tart. At this stage, the edges of the filling will be starting to set but the middle will still be quite runny. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes (I needed the full 20) until golden brown and completely set.
Allow to cool completely. But, if you’re like me and can’t let anything cool completely, do give it about 20-30 minutes before diving in. Eat on its own, dusted with icing sugar, or with freshly whipped cream for an indulgent treat.
For some reason, I’m now thinking about Pac-Man.