After making the Bakewell tart the other night, and feeling a little disappointed with the result, I decided to do a bit of research … and how does everyone do research nowadays? They google, of course. The first thing that struck me, from the images that appeared, other recipes clearly used shortcrust rather than puff pastry. Okay, that made sense. What else? It originated in a village called Bakewell, in Devon. It’s sometimes called tart, sometimes a pudding, but that’s a bit class-dependent. Oh, and there are MANY different recipes. In the end, though, I plumped for one attributed to Jamie Oliver …a couple of times I’ve caught him on telly, and he always makes things seem so simple & intuitive. The way I like to cook. But anyway, so here we are in the Sounds again, time to concoct desserts. A time to try and make improvements.
But, the first thing I have to say, Jamie Oliver, is that I am not going to make my own pastry. I’m sure that, with vanilla bean & lemon zest, your pastry is scrumptious … but I can’t be bothered, when I can buy my pastry at the supermarket.
So, that out of the way, I did roll out my pie crust and prepare it as Jamie recommended, but made one other change … his recipe calls for 12 oz of whole blanched almonds … d’ye know the cost of almonds in New Zealand, wee Jamie!! I decided to make do with two 70g packs of ground almonds … more than double the amount in the previous recipe, after all.
All right, now for the recipe, from the point where I’ve rolled out my store-bought pastry and put it in the freezer for an hour …
- Preheat oven to 175 C, and bake pastry case for about 15 minutes (until lightly golden). Remove from the oven, and turn down heat to 160C.
- Jamie says the first step in making the frangipane (not a flower, apparently!) is to blitz the expensive almonds to a fine powder & put in a bowl … I put my ground almonds straight in the bowl.
- Jamie then says to blitz 1 cup + 5 tbspn of unsalted butter (which I reckon to be about 700 gms) with a cup of sugar until light & creamy. Well, no food processors here, so a case of old-fashioned creaming the butter & sugar with a wooden spoon. Thank goodness for a strong right arm! Once done, add to the almonds along with 3 lightly beaten eggs, and fold in till completely mixed and smooth. Place in fridge to firm up.
- Smear 6 tbspns of strawberry jam over the bottom of the pastry case, pour the frangipane mix on top & sprinkle with some sliced blanched almonds. Bake for around 40 minutes, until the almond mixture has become firm and golden on the outside, still soft in the centre.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes, serve with whipped cream.
And this, even with my modifications, was certainly more impressive than the one the other night. It was though, a bit eggy to taste … maybe Jamie’s extravagant almonds would have made the difference? Interestingly enough, however, I had a quick look in the Edmonds Cookbook – circa 1960 – that’s kept in the pantry here, and noted that their recipe was for little tartlets & contained no almonds at all. So, verily, MANY variations possible. I may try one more time … BUT if the secret is truly 12 oz of almonds, I’m not sure the tart is worth the cost of making.