It’s been a little while hasn’t it, sorry about that. But I’ve created my own take on a Bakewell tart and it’s really good. The flavor combination is inspired by Mum. We have one jar left of the blackcurrant jam she made a while ago – and it is beautiful. Sweet and sour. But not like the sweet and sour chicken Grandad gets in every buffet he has ever been to… it’s fruity, sharp and sweet. Tastes really peng with the sweet almost frangipane. Funny word, I know, frangipane. Pretty much, frangipane is a sweet almond cake paste that you bake into tarts, it comes out of the oven really soft. The apple element in the tart comes from the draw in the freezer that mum has filled with apples. Mum is an apple hoarder. A hoarder of apples. Not from Sainsbury’s though. From apples that have fallen off apple trees. I don’t think she actually likes apples that much. I think she just gets excited at the idea of free food or she feels sad that no one is eating all theses apples. So. She takes them all.
This recipe took me two tries, mainly because of my relationship with pastry. In some sweet pastry you can bind the flour, butter and sugar with an egg. It makes a more glossy, firmer pastry case. I’m not a fan. The pastry case that I like is light, flaky and barely there. This is the kind of pastry that goes so well with the soft, chewy frangipane. (WOW food column in the Guardian – come get me).
Variations: you can fill this tart with any kind of jam and any kind of fruit. Raspberries and raspberry jam, apricots and damson jam, rhubarb and marmalade…? The tart is your oyster.
This recipe can be used for a 18 – 20cm tart dish, flan tin or removable base round cake tin.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 90g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 175g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon cold water plus one teaspoon
Frangipane and Filling
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 50g plain flour
- 80g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100g apples, pealed, cored and sliced
- 1 heaped tablespoon blackcurrant jam
- 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds
Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter. Using your finger tips, rub into the flour and sugar mix. You want to create a bread crumb consistency.
Once the flour, sugar, salt and butter have been crumbed add in the tablespoon of cold water. Use a knife (the kind you use to eat your dinner with) to ‘cut’ into the mixture. Literally use cutting, crossing motions with the knife pointing down, to allow the mixture to start clumping together. Don’t worry if it looks like nothing is changing, it is, just subtly. If it looks like there is still some dry flour in the bowl, add the teaspoon of water (and no more!)
Once the water is incorporated and some clumps have formed bring the mixture together with your hands. Handle the dough as little as possible here. Once you have a ball of dough, wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
While the pastry is chilling lightly butter your tin and sprinkle with some flour. Shake and pat the tin over the sink, covering it with a very light dusting of flour.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly flour surface, your aiming for no thicker than 5mm. Please don’t measure it. This is sad. Just roll it out until you feel and then roll it a bit more. Then it will be ready. Line your tin with the pastry, making sure there is about an inch of pastry hanging over the edge of the tin (pastry shrinks when you bake it). This is how I do it:
Chill the pastry case in the fridge for another 30 mins and pre-heat your oven to 180.
Once the pastry is chilled you need to ‘blind’ bake the pastry case before you add the filling. This just means your partly cooking the pastry. Cover the chilled pastry case with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Weigh the greaseproof paper down with uncooked lentils or rice (I’m using dried mung beans, Anna gave me them a year ago and they’ve been used as baking beans ever since). Bake this for 12-15 mins until the pastry appears dry, under the greaseproof paper. Remove the greaseproof paper and lentils/rice and let the case bake for another 5 minuets, until lightly golden.
Once the pastry case is out of the oven and cooled slightly, use a knife to trim the excess pastry hanging over the edge of the tin.
Leaving your oven on, make the frangipane filling. Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Before adding your eggs, measure out your flour and ground almonds. Beat in your eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, adding a tablespoon of the flour and ground almonds with each egg addition to stop the mixture curdling.
Fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds.
Now assemble the tart. Layer jam, then half the frangipane, then the apples, the the rest of the frangipane.
Bake for 10 mins then sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Return the tart to the oven for another 15 – 20 mins or until golden brown. This doesn’t behave the same way as a cooked cake, so don’t press it to see if it springs back! You will have a finger print tart….mmm delicious.
Enjoy the bakewell! Caitlin xxx