It’s time to queue the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, pour yourself a cuppa and fill your home with the scent of a fresh Bakewell tart.
If you’ve never made a Bakewell tart before, you’re in for a treat. The simple ingredients will bring you back to the basics of baking. Unpretentious in looks yet impressive in taste, this is the type of pastry you can make just because or to bring to a fancy brunch. And trust us, after you bake it once, this tart will become a much-loved recipe card in your collection.
What is a Bakewell tart?
A Bakewell tart is a pastry consisting mostly of almond custard (known as frangipane) and raspberry jam. The crust is typically a blind-baked, crumbly shortcrust rather than a flaky pie crust. Raspberry jam layers the bottom while frangipane covers the top.
Though you might be familiar with the tart from watching The Great British Baking Show, it’s been around far longer than the show. Created in the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England, the tart’s date of origin is up for debate. Some claim it was invented in 1820 by accident at the White Horse Inn, while others claim it invented in the 1860s at the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. One thing is for certain, though. You’ll want to savor every bite of the town’s eponymous dessert.
Bakewell pudding vs. Bakewell tart
A short note on the name: If you’ve been to Derbyshire, or you’ve seen this dessert referred to as a Bakewell pudding, know that they’re basically interchangeable. Based purely on technicality, however, some bakers from the town refer to the Bakewell pudding as the pastry that actually uses pudding (or “puds,” if you know your British baking phrases) rather than frangipane. The Bakewell tart refers to the version that does use the frangipane filling.
Ingredients for a Bakewell Tart
Apart from the most basic elements like butter, sugar, flour and eggs, the Bakewell tart needs a few specific ingredients to stick close to the traditional flavoring.
Crust: A traditional Bakewell tart calls for a rich shortcrust, but our version calls for a basic pastry dough to keep things simple.Raspberry jam: Sweet-tart raspberry jam is the most traditional filling for a Bakewell tart. It pairs deliciously with the toasty, nutty flavor of almonds.Finely ground almonds: Ground almonds are not the same as almond meal, so make sure you’ve picked up the right ingredient at the grocery store! Finely ground almonds are darker in color and slightly coarser than almond flour, and you’ll want that coarseness for the frangipane filling.Almond extract: A good almond extract is like a good vanilla extract. Investing in quality can really take your tart to bakery-level tastiness. So go for the best almond extract you can find. And besides, there are plenty of recipes that use almond extract, so the specialty ingredient won’t go untouched in your pantry.
How to Make a Bakewell Tart
This recipe comes to us from Taste of Home contributor Mary Ann Lee of Clifton Park, New York. It makes one pie, which can be sliced into eight servings. Note that the recipe calls for an already prepared pastry dough. Feel free to use your own recipe, or use the single-crust version from our classic pie crust recipe.
Dough for single-crust pie1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam6 tablespoons butter, softened1/2 cup sugar2 large eggs, room temperature1 cup finely ground almonds2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Step 1: Fit dough to tart pan
Preheat your oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Transfer it to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the dough to be even with the rim of the pan.
Step 2: Spread the jam
Although traditional Bakewell tart recipes call for blind-baking the crust, this particular recipe skips that step. You can go ahead and spread the raspberry jam over the bottom of the dough so that it reaches all the edges.
Step 3: Make the frangipane
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, five to seven minutes. Gradually beat in remaining ingredients until well combined. Spread over jam, and bring it all the way to the edge of the pan.
Step 4: Bake the tart
Bake the tart until the filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the tart pan for serving.
Bakewell Tart Recipe Variations
While it might veer from traditional, the Bakewell tart lends itself well to variations.
Switch up the jam: Raspberry jam has a tart, fruity taste that might be over the top for some tastebuds. Swap the raspberry jam for the more subdued sweetness of a strawberry or blueberry jam. If the tartness is what you’re after, try blackberry jam for a change.Add an iced topping: The elegant pink chevrons etched into the white icing on Mary Berry’s Bakewell tart in The Great British Baking Show were certainly eye-catching. To replicate that, mix together confectioners’ sugar, almond extract and a few tablespoons of water until you reach a relatively thick consistency (or use our easy royal icing recipe). Mix a few tablespoons of the icing into a separate bowl, and drop in some pink food coloring. You can then pipe the pink icing in parallel lines over the white icing and use a toothpick to swirl in designs. Note that you should wait until the tart has cooled completely before icing.Make handheld Bakewell tarts: Handheld Bakewell pie tarts are like toaster pastries but so much better. They use similar ingredients as our classic pastry, plus they’re drizzled with icing and topped with chopped almonds. Breakfast on the go, anyone?
How to Store Your Bakewell Tart
Bakewell tarts are best served at room temperature, so after baking it and allowing it to cool, tightly wrap it or place it in an airtight container. You can then keep it on your counter for about three days. Place it in the fridge if you’d like to make it last a few days longer than that.
Can you freeze a Bakewell tart?
You can freeze a Bakewell tart for about three months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge instead of out on the counter so it retains its texture. Before serving, take it out of the fridge, then allow it to come to room temperature.
Bakewell Tart Tips
Is marzipan the same as frangipane?
Frangipane is similar tomarzipan, except that the former is more custard-like and the latter is more candy-like. For the purposes of tart baking, the looser texture of frangipane allows it to bake into the raspberry jam and fuse the two layers.
Can you use premade pie crust?
While a homemade crust will certainly stand out in a simple recipe like this, we all love a good shortcut now and again. When you’re in a time crunch, use a quality store-bought pie crust to fit to your tart pan, then bake as normal.