baking Daring Bakers recipes

Daring Bakers: Bakewell Tart!

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

Bakewell tart is apparently a term applied to various confections, but in this case it was a shortbread crust topped with jam topped with almond pastry cream-like stuff, then baked. Yum.


I did this one all by myself. I feel so grown-up. In the midst of trying to complete four different jobs at the same time and going insane, I stopped to bake. I’m glad I did.

(For those of you who don’t know, I often contract out the actual baking to my older son, who is 17. He has considerably more free time than I do.)

I wanted to make cherry jam for this, because cherries + almonds = awesome. But I forgot to go to the farmers market after delivering above-mentioned son an hour from home at 6:30 in the morning. So, plan B: a pound of frozen cherries, about an ounce and a half of sugar, and a splash of vanilla. I threw the undefrosted cherries and the sugar in a pot and cooked them for a very long time, mashing occasionally with a potato masher, and near the end using an immersion blender on the poor cherries. One it was jelly-like, I turned off the heat and added the vanilla. Excellent, if I say so myself.

The crust was easy enough, although I must confess to using the food processor. Sorry. I think I didn’t add quite enough water, but it rolled out fine. It was just a bit dry after it was baked.

The frangipane was absolutely delicious raw — I could have eaten it all that way. It was light and airy and sweet and almondy. Really, I’d have been happy with this, the whole bowl, all to myself. But no, I soldiered on.

It baked for exactly the length of time the recipe says, which is rare around here. My oven is old and not terribly reliable. I couldn’t find the sliced almonds I know for a fact I have, so I used slivered.


The tart smelled absolutely stunning while it was baking, and it tasted good too:

Husband: I was a little dismayed by how soft the top was, but once assured it was supposed to be that soft, I actually found it to be enjoyable, and I thought the balance of flavors between the almond and the cherry was great. I really liked the crust too, more than I normally like pie crust.

#1 Son: I would have preferred more fruit flavor. The almond was a little heavy, but I liked the taste.

#2 Son: I liked it. I liked the cherry jam especially. There could have been a bit less frangipane and a bit more jam. The crust was awesome — perfect for a pie crust. I’d definitely eat it again. [Note to new readers: He’ll eat everything again. This is not a picky eater.]


Hundreds of other Daring Bakers tried this recipe too, so go see what they did with it. And if you want to try it yourself, please do. It’s a perfect summer dessert.


Bakewell Tart … er … Pudding
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart:
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:

  • If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It’s a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn’t have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
  • You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
  • The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.

Annemarie’s notes:

  • The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disk, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Jasmine’s notes:

  • I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
  • If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Annemarie’s notes:

  • Add another five minutes or more if you’re grinding your own almonds or if you’re mixing by hand. (Heaven help you.)

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