February Calendar Fun: Bakewell Tart

Sometimes things just don’t taste the way you “see” them in a picture…

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Here we are in March already, and if you remember, I talked about the recipe calendar that I have at my desk, and my plan to prepare the recipe of the month, at the end of each month… At the end of January, I made these cookies, which were absolutely delicious..

February’s recipe featured this Bakewell Tart. I was a little bit excited to try this tart, because in my mind, I was expecting a pecan pie type of deal, but with almonds and raspberry instead, and expected it to be delicious..

As described in the calendar, this tart originated in the English village of Bakewell, as Bakewell pudding. Digging a little more online, I found that there is a Bakewell Tart Shop in Bakewell, and the the tart has been baked in puff pastry since the 1870’s.

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Whether this is true or not, the story starts with a customer ordering a strawberry tart from Mrs. Greaves, who was the landlady and cook of the White Horse Inn, in Bakewell. Supposedly, the cooking assistant forgot to add the strawberry jam to the filling, and at the last minute, spread the jam onto the bottom of the pastry shell and then covered it with the cream filling. Apparently, there is a secret ingredient that only one person knows. Before Mrs. Greaves died, she passed the recipe including the secret ingredient to a Mr. Radford, who before his death, passed it to Mr. Bloomer. I guess the Bloomer family owns (or did own) the Bakewell Tart Shop (wisegeek.com).

And..because it’s a myth, I can’t confirm the story. Sometimes it’s just fun to keep history as is…myth or not.

I just wonder why the cooking assistant didn’t mix the strawberry jam into the filling before she poured it into the pastry. It seems that if she had time to spread it over the bottom of the pastry, there was time to mix it into the filling. But what do I know? Maybe she had a grudge against the customer!

So…the Bakewell Tart..it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. I didn’t care for the texture, which is a surprise to me, because texture in food isn’t usually a negative factor for me. I’m not exactly sure what the true texture should be, and this could be due to this cook’s error, but it was a little on the thick jelly side. The taste was bland, and quite boring to be honest.   

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With all due respect to those who might love this Bakewell Tart, I just didn’t love it, and was disappointed for sure. I think that this is one of those recipes that you really need to grow up with in order to love it.  Or maybe I was disappointed because I was expecting one thing, but got another..

On a positive note, it’s a very pretty pie, the fresh raspberries and whipped cream were delicious!

Would I make it again? Most likely not, unless I were to come across another recipe that had a little “oomph” to it..

So, what would I do differently? I wouldn’t use puff pastry, but would use a buttery, chopped almond cookie crust instead, and I would bake it in mini tartlet pans rather than a pie plate. I think I’d use more jam, and less of the almond filling, and then top it with chopped toasted almonds. I’d still serve them with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Maybe a drizzle of chocolate…you know, just because chocolate makes everything better…

Stay tuned… I think I’m on to something here!

I’m sure that there is someone who is familiar with this tart, and I’d like to know your thoughts!

Just a quick note: This recipe called for a 7” pie plate. I didn’t have one, so I used a 9” instead, and doubled the recipe. It called for a 30 minute bake time, but I doubled that too, and lowered the temperature from the suggested 400 degrees to 350 degrees. It browned and set beautifully in one hour.

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Bakewell Tart
(As written on my calendar)

225g/8 oz puff pastry
30ml/2 tbsp raspberry or apricot jam
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
115g/4 oz/ 1/2 cup (caster) superfine sugar
115g/4 oz/1/2 cup butter, melted
55g/2 oz/ 2/3 cup ground almonds
A few drops of almond extract
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
double (heavy) cream, or ice cream, to serve

Preheat the over to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line an 18cm/7 inch pie plate. Trim the edge of the pastry with a knife.

Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut into strips. Use these to decorate the edge of the pastry case by gently twisting them around the rim, joining the strips together as necessary.

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Prick the pastry case all over, then spread the jam all over the base.

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Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture is thick and pale.  Gently  stir the melted butter, ground almonds, and almond extract into the whisked egg mixture.

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set, and lightly browned.

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Decorate the tart with a little bit of icing sugar before serving it warm or cold with generous dollops of double cream or ice cream.

For those of you who love it… Enjoy!

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56 thoughts on “February Calendar Fun: Bakewell Tart

  1. Sorry Prudy- I definitely know how you feel about recipes not turning out the way you thought they would. You win some and others…well, I guess you don’t really win em, right? It LOOKS tasty though lol

    • Lol.. it’s ok Jess. I think my biggest problem was that I was expecting it to taste like pecan pie, but with almonds. It wasn’t even close to pecan pie! It is definitely a pretty pie for sure!! Lol.. 🙂
      How was your tv show? Scandal, right? I’m sure you’re happy to have it back on..sometimes those waits can drive you mad! I know I’m like that with the Walking Dead!! 🙂

      • Scandal was amazing! I was definitely not disappointed with it, I know the rest of the season is going to be great.

        And OMG, I LOVE the Walking Dead too! Or…at least I have in the past. I don’t know what it is with this current season, but I’m just really underwhelmed with what they’ve been doing this year. Maybe they have new writers, but this season has been really slow and uneventful for me, which sucks because I was the one who got my whole family watching the show in the first place when they were skeptical of it. If the first few seasons had been like this one, I don’t even think I would’ve kept up with it.

        Maybe I just feel like they don’t feature Darryl enough. I’m a huge Darryl fan lol

    • Thank you Melissa!! I’m on my phone now, but will definitely check out your link. Cake like middle… Hmmm. Yeah, this was nothing like cake. Not even remotely close. I’m interested even more.. I’m almost 100% certain it was this cook’s error!! 😊

    • It was pretty, wasn’t it?! Lol.. At first I had my mind made up that I had no interest in trying this tart again, but I’m definitely intrigued now with a couple of recipes offered to me..Maybe I shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet.. 🙂 Thank you Nancy..

  2. I love the little story behind this tart! I’ve made so many Bakewells but never really researched their origin. My mum even grew up in a neighbouring village to Bakewell, so I really should have found out more!
    I reckon the problem with your tart is that there isn’t nearly enough solidity in the filling. The mixture should be more or less equal quantities of butter, sugar and ground almonds/flour, and I’ve never heard of melting the butter first. Try: 130g softened (not melted) butter, 130g caster sugar, 115g ground almonds, 25g plain flour and 3 whole eggs + almond extract (lemon zest is a nice extra too), and make like a cake using the creaming method. The texture will be much more like a dense cake/torte and less like a jelly – and hopefully a LOT more palatable! I also always use shortcrust, but that’s just me 😉 Oh, and it may need cooking slightly longer at a slightly lower temperature, as it burns easily.
    It’s one of my favourite desserts so please don’t give up in it just yet!
    I hope this helps!

  3. It’s so disappointing when recipes don’t turn you as you expect but I really think the fault lies with your recipe calendar. Bakewell tart shouldn’t be made with puff pastry but shortcrust and the filling, as said above, more cake-like, like in a frangipane tart; definitely not jelly-like. Done well, it’s a really lovely dessert so with the advice given above, do try again!

  4. I eaten a bake well tart from the shop in Bakewell and believe me there was nothing jelly like in the filling, more like frangipane as others have mentioned. I encourage you to try again with one of the other commenters recipes. It would be really interesting to know how you liked a more authentic version,which BTW is nothing like pecan pie

  5. Everyone else has already said this, so I’ll agree – you should try a different recipe, because this doesn’t sound like a very authentic Bakewell tart. I worked near Bakewell a few years ago and I ate a few of them (that makes me an expert of some kind, surely 😛 ) It’s so disappointing when your bakes don’t turn out how you expect them to. On the plus side, I love your twisted pie edging, looks lovely!

  6. How can something be so pretty and not taste good? That is why cooking/baking can be challenging but oh so much fun! Chocolate sounds like a great idea as it pairs so well with raspberries. Thanks for all of the info as I am not familiar with this tart 🙂

    • Isn’t that funny? I’ve had plenty of beautiful desserts that turned out to be a huge disappointment, and then I’ve had plenty of not so pretty desserts that were absolutely the best I’ve ever eaten!! It just goes to prove that we truly cannot judge a book by its cover! 🙂

  7. I have heard of Bakewell Tart, didn’t really know what is is though. Your tart looks beautiful, sorry you were a bit disappointed, it looks very creamy, I always love a good story/myth. Your presentation is wonderful!

  8. Trudy, it looks delicious – too bad it wasn’t a huge hit! Bland, boring stuff is the worst. Like a chore to eat! Better luck next time – we all stumble upon some dud recipes every now and then.

    • Thank you Lisa! Lol.. It wasn’t too much of a chore… two or three bites of the tart was all it took to realize it wasn’t going to be a hit in this house. It went straight to the trash! The raspberries were delicious, so it wasn’t all bad!! 🙂

  9. Trudy – I’ve been away & only just got back. Went to your blog to find your Mexican Wedding Cakes recipe which I’ve been meaning to make for ages and found this post – which I love. Bakewell Tart was something I grew up with when I lived in England. I’ve got such fond memories of it. But when I read your post – I wondered if my memory might be better than the reality! So as much as I think I love Bakewell Tart – perhaps I just love the memory of my grandfather making it and being with him. And although it’s a long, long time ago since he made one, I could have sworn he used Lyle’s golden syrup in it. Now you’ve got me thinking…. perhaps I’ll go do some digging of my own. You always inspire me!

    • Lindy..thank you so much for the kind words..that means so much to me. So many people have me inspired to try the tart again.. and I’m so hoping that the people who know the tart the best would do a post on it so that I can see exactly what it’s supposed to be. I was going by a picture and recipe on a $12 calendar…and then researching it online didn’t do any help because I’m not familiar with them to begin with! Lol.. I would love to experience the true Bakewell tart.
      And… Likewise, my friend… you, and so many other wonderful bloggers inspire me.. ❤

  10. Hi Prudy, I’ve never heard of a Bakewell tart much less tasted one. The myth is interesting and your photos of the pie look great! So sorry it didn’t turn out well though. I know texture can really affect whether I like something or not and it sounds like it had an effect on you too. Let’s hope March’s calendar recipe is better!

    • Thank you Ngan! I know, I can’t wait to see what March’s recipe is! My co-workers cannot believe that I don’t peek to see what the next month’s recipe is until the current month has ended.. I don’t know..it’s crazy, but I love the anticipation, and surprise when I finally do flip the page. Let’s just hope for a fun recipe in March! 🙂

  11. Your recipe is actually very similar to one I have from a book to do with olde British cookery. I’ve no idea if it’s actually based on the original. But I certainly wouldn’t make it! The link Melissa has given you is what you would find these days if you bought it in a shop. Perhaps that’s why the modern version is so different. And it’s actually very nice. The texture should be like that of a dense cake, with quite a strong almond flavour. Definitely worth trying!

    • Thank you.. It’s so fun to research and write a little blurb about a place that I have never visited (but hope to someday..)… and to know someone who actually worked there, and has eaten the real deal!! 🙂 You and I need to talk, my friend..

  12. I’m sorry that your tart didn’t turn out properly but you sure had a lovely presentation. It is nice to have readers that have given you advice on how to make one that you will enjoy. It is one of the nicest things about blogging, we get great information from our friends when needed.

    • Karen, I’ve said this before, but I have to say it again… I am overwhelmed by the kindness of my new blogging friends. I had no idea what to expect when I started this blog… I’m delighted to meet so many people who are so full of support and kindness for each other. It means the world to me…xx

  13. Never heard of a Bakewell tart either. Wow! You have your work cut out for you now with all these great suggestions and comments. It certainly sounds good and love the idea of the jam on the base of the pastry. Looks great!

  14. This is a first for me. I enjoy reading the story behind it and I have to say it looks pretty, pretty good! You should definitely go embrace your creativity and change the recipe following your taste and idea. I’m sure it will be a knockout!

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