Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Monday, 20 August 2012

Speeding up history - Bakewell Tart (or pudding, if you like)

I am lucky in that being British I have gorgeously satisfying, completely stodgy puddings in my cooking DNA. Whilst sometimes it might be nice to finish a meal with something light, there are times, often when it's cold or miserable outside, that I require something a little more weighty, the kind of 'afters' that sticks to your ribs. And whilst this particular pudding might not have the sticky gravitas of Spotted Dick or Steamed Treacle Sponge, Bakewell Tart is a gorgeous way of finishing off a meal. And to think, like Tarte Tatin, it happened through mistake...

Coming back from France I brought a motor home freezer full of (amongst other things) puff pastry, filo pastry, shortcrust pastry and so on, not because I hate making pastry as such but because it's so bloody cheap compared to here and it's amazing quality. And it's easy to whip something up resembling a hearty meal when I come home from work when the pastry is already there, done, waiting to be topped with tomatoes or mozzarella or something, or wrapped around potatoes and meat to produce a pie or a pasty, both adored by Lola and Finn. I figured that I could make this tart easier by using ready made pastry. Ordinarily I would have used puff as this is meant to be more faithful to whatever the 'original recipe' was, but I used pate brisee this time and it was absolutely fine, and totally delicious.

And as my great, great grandma and plenty of her forebears are from Bakewell, I kinda feel quite close to this pudding, imagining that some of my ancestors might have been ones to try the original mistake in the Rutland Arms, nearly 200 years ago.

Bakewell Tart or Pudding


6 - 8 oz puff pastry (though on this occasion I used ready rolled pate brisee)3 oz butter
3 oz caster sugar
3 egg yolks lightly beaten
2 egg whites
A quarter of a teaspoon of almond essence or almond oil if you have it.
four tablespoons of firm raspberry jam
(though I have used a bit more than that - I like it jammy)

A handful of flaked almonds


Preheat oven to 210 C and put in a baking sheet to warm up (the bottom of the pie needs extra heat to cook the pastry)

Roll the pastry out and use to line a greased tart tin or pie plate about 7 inches across and one inch deep with a tiny lip all the way round. Spread the jam thinly on the bottom of the pastry. It should look like a big jam tart.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and work in the egg yolks and almond essence bit by bit.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then fold into the butter and sugar mix. You might end up with a batter that is quite thick, but you should be able to pour it into the pastry and jam.

Pour this batter over the jam, scatter some flaked almonds over the top and place in the oven on the baking sheet. After about 15 minutes, check the pie to see if the top is browning. If it is getting quite dark, reduce the heat down to about 180 C. Bake for a further 20 minutes or so, but keep checking. If the batter is still too wobbly but is browning more than it should, place some foil over the top.

The pudding is ready when the pastry is puffed and the mix has risen and looks dark. The batter will yield a little.

Allow to cool slightly. The top will sink very slightly but its meant to.

Serve with pouring cream, custard or vanilla ice cream. Custard is the accompaniment of choice around here!

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