The UK is a nation of innovative and creative chefs who have been gracing our cookbook shelves and TV screens over the years. Delia Smith (the only picture-less cookbook that I have ever been able to bear), Rick Stein, Nigel Slater, Marcus Wareing, Jamie Oliver (the Americans really just did not get it), Lorraine Pascale and Angela Hartnett are just a few to name who we have turned to at dinner time in search of different yummy recipes. However, there is only one figure who can rightfully be named ‘The Queen of Cakes’, and that is Mary Berry. Currently gracing our screens on this year’s series of The Great British Bake Off, she is proving why there are few other people who know as much about sweet treats as she does (and also bringing the work ‘scrummy’ back!). So in honour of our baking sovereign, I thought that I would share her recipe for one of our nation’s favourite treats, The Bakewell Tart.
Stemming from the Bakewell Pudding which originated (by accident according to legend) in the picturesque town of Bakewell, these treats have graced the lunch boxes of many children over the years, as well as a delicious addition to any tea break. The MB recipe for this blog is for Bakewell Tart Slices, so they are not enveloped in pastry, however it can be easily adapted and baked in a cupcake tin to produce the classic tarts of our childhood.
For the pastry:
85g hard butter (in cubes)
175g plain flour
2-3 tbsp of cold water
For the sponge:
115g butter (softened)
115g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking power (level)
2 eggs (large)
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
For the filling:
4 – 5 tbsp raspberry jam
Handful of flaked almonds for sprinkling
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4, and grease and line a shallow baking tray (30cm x 23cm). For the pastry, put the flour and butter cubes in a bowl and using your fingers, rub them together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to bind the dough together with your hands, then roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Gently lift the pastry base to the line the baking tray, however do not worry if it should fall apart as you can just patch it back together in the baking tray. Smoother the base in raspberry jam, and do not be afraid to add more if you want an extra jammy base!
For the sponge, cream the butter in a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients and beat well for a few minutes until the mixture is well combined. Carefully spread the sponge mixture over the jam with a spatula, being carefully not to mix it with the jam. Once it is all covered, level with the spatula and sprinkle the almonds evenly over the tart mixture (again, adding more if you want to).
Bake the tart in the oven for roughly 20 – 25 minutes, or until the cake has shrunk away from the edges of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre. Leave the tart to cool completely in the tray, then cut into squares and store in a tin.
Very yummy with custard, or just great as a snack with a cup of tea. Many thanks to the cake queen Mary Berry for this fantastically yummy and easy recipe!