If you've been reading any of my previous posts, you'll know that there's an occasional British influence in my dishes. My boyfriend R is from Scotland (so I've been working on my cheese and onion pasty recipe the last few years) and his family lives in London. They know how much I love to cook and bake, so for Christmas I get a lot of cooking supplies, and British cookbooks.
I didn't make a lot of recipes from the books at first because everything is in grams or milliliters, so I had to convert each measurements to US units..... that is, until I bought a kitchen scale.
Using a scale not only allows me to easily tackle British recipes, but it also saves measuring cups and spoons, because you can simply add each ingredient from the package directly into the mixing bowl - no more counting, spooning, and leveling cups of flour! The other benefit is that you can get more consistent measurements using a scale - flour can vary in volume depending on how settled it is. The scale I use is cheap and low profile, so I just tuck it in between a couple of cookbooks for storage.
I've made every effort to provide accurate conversions for this recipe, but be prepared to dirty all your measuring cups and spoons because the amounts are a bit odd. For best results, I'd stick to the original recipe, which turned out perfectly on this run.
The Bakewell Tart is the quintessential British dessert, made with raspberry jam, frangipane almond filling, and almonds. I've had a couple here and there and they often have a thick layer of powdered sugar icing. This version, from Paul Hollywood's British Baking cookbook, uses fresh raspberries and is topped with flaked almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar, and isn't overpoweringly sweet. If you like the taste and look of icing, you can simply mix 1/4 powdered sugar and a few teaspoons of milk together to drizzle over the final product.
Bakewell Tart, from Paul Hollywood
For the pastry
200 g plain flour (1 ¼ cups plus 2 tbsp )
2 tbsp icing sugar
100 g cold unsalted butter, diced (7 tbsp)
1 medium egg
1 tsp lemon juice
2–3 tsp ice-cold water
100 g unsalted butter (7 tbsp)
100 g caster sugar (½ cup)*
2 large eggs
50 g plain flour (scant ⅓ cup)
75 g ground almonds (½ cup)
A drop of almond extract (optional)
100 g raspberry jam (½ cup)
100 g raspberries (¾ cup)
20 g flaked almonds (scant quarter cup)
Icing sugar, for dusting
- To make the pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix the egg with the lemon juice and 2 tsp water. Stir into the mixture with a round-bladed knife, adding another 1 tsp water if necessary. (Alternatively you can make it in a food processor, blitzing the flour, icing sugar and butter together, then adding the liquid.)
- As the dough comes together, gently knead it into a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 390 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8 thickness and use to line a 14" x 4" loose-bottomed tart tin (or a 9" round tin), leaving a little excess overhanging the edge.
- Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or dried beans. Bake blind for 12–15 minutes, until the pastry is dry to the touch. Remove the paper and beans and return the pastry case to the oven for about 5 minutes until very lightly coloured. Trim away excess pastry from the edge. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
- For the frangipane filling, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the flour, ground almonds and the almond extract, if using.
- Spread the jam over the base of the pastry case and scatter over the raspberries. Top with the frangipane and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, then scatter the flaked almonds on top and cook for a further 15 minutes until the filling is golden. Leave to cool in the tin before slicing. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
*Caster Sugar is simply a finer grind of regular granulated sugar. You can make this by pulsing sugar in a food processor or blender, or you can most likely use regular granulated without negatively impacting the tart too much.