Recipe Corner: Bakewell Tart

by Harry on March 14, 2008

A few Thanksgivings ago my wife heard the analytical marxist’s wife and elder daughter quietly bemoaning to one another the absence of “that iced pie that Harry always brings”. No, not mince pie, but the glorious confection presented below. I gather that it is under threat from healthy living—The Independent says that sales of Mr. Kipling’s Bakewell tarts are declining alarmingly. Well, I quite like Mr. Kipling’s Cherry Bakewells, but they are a pale imitation of the easy-to-bake home made version. And in America, no-one seems to have encountered it before, but everyone seems to love it. If you adopt it, you can call this one the crooked timber bakewell tart, if you like. The lemon icing, by the way, was my eldest daughter’s touch—she suggested it when she was 5. Precocious little bugger.

Its simple. Start with a basic flaky pastry crust in a 10 inch pie pan, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Smear 6-8 ounces of raspberry jam evenly over the base of the crust (the higher quality the jam the better the outcome, I promise). While the crust is baking, make the cake mixture. Pour the cake mixture over the jam, and try to cover the jam. Bake at 350 for another 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool. Then cover with an icing made from the juice of one lemon and enough powdered sugar to make a thick paste. Alternatively, skip the icing, and serve hot with Bird’s Custard, or cream.

For the cake mixture:

4oz (1 stick) butter
4oz (1/2 cup) sugar (granulated, or bakers)
3 eggs
6 oz (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
several drops of almond essence

To make the cake filling, cream butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, add almond essence (tastes vary—I like to really taste the almond essence but not everyone does), then mix in the flour.

One last thing. Lots of recipes say to use ground almonds instead of flour, or to go half and half. I’ve never found that works, producing a slightly greasy taste in the cake. If anyone can explain what I’m doing wrong….

{ 18 comments }

1

Michael 03.14.08 at 6:48 pm

Smear 6-8 ounces of raspberry jam where?

2

Righteous Bubba 03.14.08 at 7:05 pm

Marinated Spider with Chilled Cheddars

Ingredients:
7 bags spider, robustly dried
1 pint Cheddar
1 everlasting Oaxaca cheese
3 pounds weary mouse skull, whisked
1 ounce baking powder
1 portion butter

Pick over the ingredients hatefully and discard excess corrigated cardboard. Place the spider into a medium saucepan. Use a food processor to mash the Oaxaca cheese with the Cheddar. Slather resulting mixture over the spider. Crush – very arousedly – the mouse skull, baking powder, and the butter. Heap the latter combination on to the former. Abandon for 62 minutes. Serves 3.

3

chris y 03.14.08 at 7:29 pm

OK, Harry, nice enough, but for god’s sake go to Bakewell and find out what you’re missing.

4

Danielle Day 03.14.08 at 7:55 pm

Good lord, what a typical Brit dessert. I’m with the mouse skull guy– with extra string.

5

grackle 03.14.08 at 8:23 pm

-Googling around, it appears that you are ignoring the necessary chemistry. I don’t know exactly what self rising flour is but I expect it includes some form of baking powder which allows the cake portion of the recipe to rise. If you substitute almonds, as you suggest, you are actually substituting a frangipane – a concoction of almonds and other ingredients that critically include eggs as a rising agent, and then, Bob’s your uncle, you have a cake-like almond substance that rises!

6

grackle 03.14.08 at 8:26 pm

Woops, I didn’t mean to line out anything. This html stuff is tricky. Post should be with no line through: Googling around, it appears that you are ignoring the necessary chemistry. I don’t know exactly what self rising flour is but I expect it includes some form of baking powder which allows the cake portion of the recipe to rise. If you substitute almonds, as you suggest, you are actually substituting a frangipane – a concoction of almonds and other ingredients that critically include eggs as a rising agent, and then, Bob’s your uncle, you have a cakelike almond substance that rises!

7

Everett 03.14.08 at 8:33 pm

If you want to use the almond mixture, don’t grind them yourself. Instead, by almond flour at the store. Then, sift it with 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and a pinch of salt. You should have better luck, as you now have a leavening agent (albeit one without gluten to work with)! Likewise, you could try different mixtures of cake flour and almond flour. For example, sift together:

1/2 c. cake flour
1/4 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

The almond flour will lend flavor and texture to the recipe, while the cake flour will add the binding power of gluten.

8

Everett 03.14.08 at 8:34 pm

Ugh, I hate typos and missing thoughts. I meant “buy”. I also meant to say that sifting is important if you’re looking for lighter cake, as is creaming the entire mixture very well so as to add air.

9

nick s 03.14.08 at 10:14 pm

Cynic that I am, I have to presume that the Indy story is planted by the Mr Kipling’s marketing team, to bring on a ‘Save Our Bakewell Tart’ campaign from the redtops, a retro-happy ad campaign, and a boost in sales. (They’re callled ‘Bakewell puddings’ in Bakewell, are they not?)

Instead, by almond flour at the store.

Which store would that be? One thing I’ve noticed as an expat: ground almond, a staple of the British baking aisle, is not to be found in local supermarkets. Instead, you really do have to buy the flaked almonds and bung them in the whizzer for a minute. If it’s called almond flour, that might be where I’m going wrong, but I’m sure I’d have noticed it.

10

Crystal 03.14.08 at 11:24 pm

Nick: Trader Joe’s sells almond meal/ground almonds. The thing with TJ’s is that it’s iffy whether a given item is in stock in a particular store at a particular time (I’m still mourning my TJ’s tamales).

The almond meal also claims you can substitute it for some (not all) of the flour in baked goods. I find that if I use too much almond meal instead of flour things do get greasy and don’t have the right taste or texture – I’ll try Everett’s solution.

11

nick s 03.15.08 at 12:21 am

The thing with TJ’s is that it’s iffy whether a given item is in stock in a particular store at a particular time

Alas, the nearest TJ’s is four hours away. Retail innovation in the US comes late to the south.

12

Katherine 03.15.08 at 3:42 pm

“I don’t know exactly what self rising flour is but I expect it includes some form of baking powder which allows the cake portion of the recipe to rise”

Spot on – it’s basic flour (known in these parts as plain flour) with baking powder included. Thus no need for separate baking powder.

13

Ewan 03.16.08 at 2:18 am

Thanks! I made this this evening – it was just what I needed for a reminder of home. Penzey’s almond extract and homemade jam worked wonders; really very good! Cheers.

14

MattF 03.16.08 at 4:46 am

TJ’s is famous for unexplained disappearances. I still mourn the loss of those vinegary salmon-things. If you find something you crave, stock up.

15

David Margolies 03.17.08 at 6:33 pm

Self-rising flour was much more common in the US when I was a child (50s and 60s) than now, when it is virtually unobtainable, at least in California. The formulae range from 2 Tablespoons of baking powder per pound of flour to less than 1 tablespoon (1.25 per cup at 8 oz/cup) and salt. I lean toward less, so for this recipe

1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. (The salt is important. Note the recipe does not mention salt because it is in the SR flour and the desert will be a bit flat without it.)

16

David Margolies 03.17.08 at 6:34 pm

Missed a unit:

The formulae range from 2 Tablespoons of baking powder per pound of flour to less than 1 tablespoon (1.25 teaspoons per cup at 8 oz/cup) and salt.

17

Everett 03.17.08 at 6:48 pm

nick s,

I don’t know where in the South you might be, but do you have either a Whole Foods or a natural foods store nearby? If so, you’ll likely find it there. Lacking that, you could look for almond flour at any store that sells Bob’s Red Mill. I’ve had good luck with BRM almond flour for other recipes.

18

SamChevre 03.18.08 at 7:39 pm

The key with almond flour is that you can’t grind it in a blender, or a meat grinder, or some of the oil will squeeze out and it will be greasy. It has to be ground in a grinder that keeps it fluffy, like flour.

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