Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Bite-sized Bakewell Tarts

Apparently, there is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the recipe for Bakewell tart.  Those interested in it's historical origins will enjoy Ivan Day's "Some Early Bakewell Pudding Recipes" and for a comparison of recipe components, I enjoyed Felicity Cloake's piece in the Guardian (I used her frangipane recipe here).  For me, however, Bakewell tart is the one my Gran lovingly made for Sunday lunch.  And the taste (if not the form) of these bite-sized Bakewells took me back to those sunny and rainy Sunday afternoon visits of childhood, like a Proustian madelaine. 

Of course, it started with those incredibly simple jam tarts from last weekend, which reminded me of my Gran's Bakewell tart, and inspired this little baking jaunt down memory lane. The extra work to make the super light frangipane (the cakey top part of these tarts made with ground almonds) is undeniably worthwhile. The perfect combination of crisp pastry, sweet jam, and light cake will have you closing your eyes to savor every bite.  For the ultimate indulgence, serve with heavy cream.

Bite-sized Bakewell Tarts:
8 oz flour
4 oz butter (I used salted)
4-5 TBS water
Strawberry jam (or raspberry or apricot)
4 oz butter (slightly softened - I used salted)
4 oz sugar
2 eggs
4 oz almond flour/meal (blanched, ground almonds - I used  Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 oz flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.

Sieve 8 oz plain flour into a large bowl and cut 4 oz butter, straight from the fridge, into little cubes.  Toss the butter cubes into the flour and use your finger tips to rub the butter into the flour, breaking down the butter with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Add 4 TBS cold water and press into a dough, adding an additional 1 TBS water (or more if needed) to bring the dough together.  Press dough into a flat round, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

While the pastry dough is chilling, make the frangipane.  With a mixer, cream together the slightly softened butter and sugar.  Add the 2 eggs and beat until well combined.  Add the almond flour, flour, and baking powder and beat until well combined.  Stir in the lemon zest. 

Lightly grease the cups of a mini muffin tin (24 count). On a floured board, roll out the pastry dough thinly (about 1/8"). Using a fluted 3" round cutter, cut out 24 rounds and press gently into the mini muffin cups.  Cover the bottom of each pastry cup with jam and cover the jam with the frangipane, almost to the top of the pastry cup.  Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops of the Bakewells are a warm light brown.  Enjoy with a nice cup of tea!


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