This classic British Bakewell Tart is wonderful for any special occasion, whether it's Easter, Mother's Day, high tea, or just for an afternoon treat with a cup of coffee or tea. A tender shortcrust pastry base contains a layer of raspberry jam and a buttery almond frangipane filling. And it's easy to make gluten-free, too!
A hot cup of tea and a slice of buttery almond tart - what could be better?
This delectable pie/tart/cake comes to us from the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England (hence the name, although it does really bake well, too 🙂 ), credited for the invention of Bakewell Pudding some centuries ago. Then, some time in the 1800's, the Bakewell tart was developed there as a happy accident, and now that little town is famous for both the original pudding and this beloved tart variation.
The shortcrust pastry is soft and pliable, easy to just press into the pan, making it a breeze whether you use regular flour or gluten-free flour. A luscious layer of jam, traditionally raspberry, (but any favourite jam would work) adds a fruitiness to the tart, and the buttery almond filling is just melt-in-your-mouth irresistible.
What a special treat this would be for Mom as part of a fancy high tea party for Mother's Day, or as a lovely dessert, along with a voluptous dollop of whipped cream.
How to Make a Bakewell Tart
If you've got a food processor, this tart is absolutely quick and easy to make. If you'll be using a bowl with a spoon, it'll take a bit of elbow grease and a few minutes longer, but it'll turn out just as delicious!
Put all the shortcrust ingredients into the food processor and whiz until they just come together into a dough. That's it! The dough should look like this.
Dump the dough onto your work surface and press it together into a ball. Cut off about a third of the ball and roll it into finger-thick ropes.
1. Press the ropes against the sides of the pan to form the outside edge of the crust. Pat out the rest of the dough into the bottom of the tart pan to make an even crust. 2. Use the smooth bottom of a measuring cup to press against the sides and bottom to even out the crust so the dough doesn't get too thick in the crease. 3. Prick the crust all over with a fork. This is called docking, and keeps the crust from bulging up in big bubbles. 4. To further prevent the crust from bulging, line it with a large piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans, baking beans, or pie weights to keep the bottom nice and flat. After 15 minutes of baking, remove the paper and pie weights and bake it for 5 more minutes.
5. Spread a thick layer of jam over the bottom of the partially baked crust. 6. Whiz up the simple frangipane filling (almond flour, butter, sugar, eggs) in the food processor (or a bowl) and dollop it over the jam. 7. Spread the filling smooth. 8. Sprinkle it with sliced almonds and bake again.
When your Bakewell Tart first comes out of the oven it will be puffed up, then as it cools it will gently fall and flatten out again.
Leave it plain, or dust it with powdered sugar if you like.
And once it's cool, cut yourself a delicious wedge.
The rich shortcrust pastry is like a buttery cookie. That fruity layer of jam melds the smooth crust to a deliciously creamy and nutty frangipane rich with almonds, butter, and sugar. It's a perfect marriage, and this version of the Bakewell Tart is not too sweet. As Goldilocks would say - it's juuuuuuuust right.
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for the shortcrust pastry:
- 1½ cups (210gms) gluten free flour blend (or regular flour for non-gluten-free)
- ½ cup (115gms) unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar or 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
for the tart filling:
- ¾ cup (170gms) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (100gms) sugar (or ⅓ cup honey)
- 1¾ cups (200gms) almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract or the zest of one lemon
- ⅓ cup (90gms) jam - raspberry, strawberry, or cherry
- ¼ cup (35gms) sliced almonds
- optional, whipped cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Make the shortcrust pastry in a food processor (or make it in a bowl like for regular pastry) combine all the filling ingredients and whiz until it just comes together into a dough. Don't clean out the food processor bowl as you'll use it for the filling.
- Use about a third of the dough and roll into into a finger thick rope. Place the rope around the inside perimeter of a 9-inch (23cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom or a deep-dish 9-inch pie pan. Press the rope of dough against the edges of the pan to make a raised 1-inch (2.5cm) crust. Then crumble in large chunks of the remaining shortcrust pastry evenly over the bottom of the tart pan and press it down evenly with your fingers to form a thick crust. Patch any holes or thin spots with pastry so it is evenly filled in. Use a smooth-bottomed measuring cup or glass to press the dough out more smoothly and evenly and to press out the dough all around the edge where the dough goes up the side of the pan so it isn't overly thick along the fold. Run a knife all along the top edge of the crust to trim off any excess dough sticking up above the rim.
- Prick the dough all over the bottom of the tin with a fork (this is called docking and prevents it from buckling). Line it with a piece of parchment paper that sticks up a bit over the edge of the pan and fill the paper with baking weights (dried beans or ceramic or metal pie weights). Bake for 15 minutes with the weights (this is called blind baking). Then remove the weights using the edges of the paper to lift them out. Bake the crust for another 5 minutes without the weights to dry it out a bit more.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling. In the unwashed food processor canister (or in a bowl with a mixer or wooden spoon), blend the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the almond flour, salt, eggs, and almond extract (or lemon zest). Whiz until a smooth paste forms.
- When the crust is finished baking, spread the jam in the bottom of the crust. Spoon the filling evenly on top of the jam in dollops, then use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to carefully spread the filling around and right to the edges of the pan, without disturbing the jam too much. Smooth the top and sprinkle it with the almonds.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Allow the tart to cool before cutting into 8 wedges. Serve with whipped cream.
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