A Bakewell tart is a classic English bake of pastry topped with jam and then frangipane and flaked almonds. I never used to be that fond of them – there was an overpowering synthetic almond taste in the shop-bought ones that I had plenty of growing up in the 80s. That was until I had a homemade one and realised that it couldn’t taste more different from that fake, slightly poisonous flavor. (I have recently made my peace with marzipan, too, for the same reason – just the home-made or really high-quality stuff, though. Cheap shop-bought marzipan is still very much a no-fly zone).
Bakewell tarts have a tendency to be a little over-sweet, so by making your own chunky raspberry puree as a substitute for sweet jam, you can keep a bit of an edge to them and make them as tangy as you like – I leave the sugar out completely, but you could add a little if the compôte is too sharp. You could also make this as a large round tart and serve in wedges for a dessert or afternoon tea, but these bars are great for popping into lunch boxes or taking on picnics.
Makes 12 bars
For the pastry:
300g/10½oz/2½ cups plain/all-purpose flour
150g/5½oz/2/3 cup butter, chilled and diced
100g/3½oz/½ cup caster/superfine sugar
4 egg yolks, plus 1 egg white
For the filling:
300g/10½oz/21/3 cups fresh raspberries
125g/4½oz/heaping ½ cup butter
150g/5½oz/¾ cup caster/superfine sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
250g/9oz/ ground almonds
For the decoration:
2 tablespoons icing/confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons flaked/sliced almonds
Put the raspberries in a pan with a tiny drizzle of water and cook over a gentle heat until softened and just beginning to break down – this will only take a couple of minutes. You don’t want them to collapse and release too much juice or they will make the pastry soggy.
To make the pastry, sift the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add the butter, sugar and egg yolks and use your fingertips to rub all the ingredients together. Once all the butter is well blended in, the pastry will start to clump together into a ball of dough. Bring the dough together. You want a pastry that is smooth and pliable rather than crumbly at all. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the pastry is chilling, preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas 5 and line a 25 x 20-cm/10 x 8-inch baking pan with baking parchment. I do this as it makes getting the Bakewell out of the pan much easier; if you have a loose-based baking pan of this size, there’s no need to grease it as pastry contains so much fat it is self-greasing.
Roll out the pastry and use it to line the base and sides of the baking pan. Cover with baking parchment and baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for another 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the base of the pastry with a thin layer of egg white. Return to the oven for 1 minute. This will help to create a waterproof layer to help prevent the raspberry juice making the pastry soggy. Set the base aside to cool a little while you make the frangipane. Turn the oven down to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.
For the filling, use an electric hand mixer to cream together the butter and sugar for a good few minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, then put the electric mixer aside and use a large metal spoon to gently fold in the ground almonds, being careful not to knock the air out of the mixture.
Spread the raspberries over the base of the pastry (you could use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pan so you don’t get too much liquid with them), and then blob the frangipane over the top. Spread it out evenly, being gentle so that it sits on top of the raspberries and you don’t get red juice through the sponge. Put in the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the oven on and tip the flaked/sliced almonds onto a baking tray. Pop the tray in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes until the almonds are light golden.
Mix the icing/confectioners’ sugar with a drizzle of water until you have a thick pouring consistency. Use a piping bag or just a spoon to drizzle the icing over the tart. Sprinkle with the golden almonds and leave the icing to set before slicing into 12 bars to serve.