Bakewell tarts are a traditional English tea sweet named after the town of Bakewell in Devonshire where it originated in the late 1800s. There are a few versions of how it was invented but essentially involves a cooking mistake where the jam was added before the custard. Just goes to show that inexperience in the kitchen can lead to glorious result!
The Best Bakewell Tarts
For the pastry
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
- 2 tbsp. sugar (or sugar substitute)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter cold and cut into small pieces
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
For the filling
- 1/4 cup raspberry or other jam (sugar free cuts some calories)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. lemon zest finely grated
- 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds*
- 1 cup caster sugar (or sugar substitute)
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1/4 tsp. almond essence (optional)
- 1/4 cup flaked almonds
Prepare the Pastry
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar. Work in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (if you must you may use a food processor)
- Add the egg yolks, vanilla and water until a smooth dough is formed.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Unwrap the chilled pastry and roll out as thin as you can (again cuts the calories) to fit a 9 inch fluted pan, or you can cut into circles and press into muffin tins. Work the dough into the crevices of the pan.
Prepare the Filling
- Cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the beaten eggs, then the flour, ground almonds, almond essence, and mix well.
- Spread the jam on the crust, then spoon the mixture over the jam.
- Top with flaked almonds, then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is baked through and golden-brown all over.
- Dust with icing sugar once they have cooled.