Today is Summer, it’s official. I woke up this morning and pulled back the curtains to see a dull grey sky and torrential rain that showed no sign of stopping. It was 8°C. It was also my day off and the awful weather meant I’d be spending most of the day in the apartment unless I wanted to end up like one of those soggy old socks you always see lying abandoned on the street for some weird reason. A trip to the supermarket was essential to buy some soft fresh white bread for the crisp and cheese sandwich that makes up an important element of my day off (oh dear). Two, three, four hours later; pouring rain and driving wind. This really hasn’t been the balmy summers day I’d been hoping for. But nothing perks me up more than thinking of, making, and more importantly eating tasty baked goods. Particularly baked goods that contain almonds. Oh almonds, you delicious nutty bastards. I like to eat them, drink them, and cover my body in their nutritious oils. Is there anything they can’t do? I’ll save you some time, the answer is no.
And so onto this bakewell tart. I’d avoided pastry for such a long time under the assumption (not sure why) that it would be very tricky to get right. Well this is not the case with this easy shortcrust pastry. Granted I did have to make it twice but that was due to my tart pan being larger than the one used in the recipe and I stupidly rolled it out too thin trying to cover the base rather than making more pastry (there’s that laziness creeping in again). The finished tart was even better than I hoped it would be. The pastry base was soft, crumbly and buttery, raspberry jam filling (always a pleasure), and a moist and delicious frangipane centre. I will definitely be making (and eating) this tart again.
125g/4.5 oz/1 cup plain flour
90g/3 1/4 oz unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp iced water
Icing Sugar to dust
90g/3 1/4 oz unsalted butter, softened.
80g/2 3/4 oz/1/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp natural almond extract
70g/2 1/2 oz/2/3 cup ground almonds
40g/1 1/2 oz/1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
200g/7 oz/1.6 cusp raspberry jam
1) Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 20cm (8 inch) loose-based fluted tart tin.
2) Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. stir in the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre, add almost all the water and mix with a flat bladed knife, using a cutting action, until the mixture comes together in beads, adding more water if it’s too dry. Gently gather the dough together and roll out between two sheets of baking paper to cover the base and sides of the tin. Line the tin with the pastry, trim the edges and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3) Line the pastry with baking paper and spread a layer of baking beads on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and the beads and bake for a further 7 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool.
4) For the filling; beat the butter and sugar in a small bowl using electric beaters until light and creamy. Add the egg gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the almond extract and beat until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the almonds and flour with a metal spoon. Spread the jam over the pastry, then spoon the almond mixture over the top, smooth the surface.
5) Bake for 35 minutes or until risen and golden. Dust with icing sugar.
Recipe taken from Essential Baking.