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The Bakewell Tart -


There has always been some amusing confusion about the history of the Bakewell tart and pudding, with more than one place claiming the glory of having originated the sweet. It is generally accepted that the pudding is the original version, dating back to Tudor times and possibly even earlier, and there is something of the medieval nobleman’s kitchen about the ingredients cited for the pudding: eggs, butter, milk, pounded almonds, sugar (possibly honey in the original) and breadcrumbs. Variations on this list include the addition of nutmeg, the use of lemon to sharpen it slightly, and the use of preserved fruit on top of pastry to make a very luxurious pudding indeed.
However, amid all this confusion throughout the years a general agreement on the subject has been reached.
In 1820 Mrs. Greaves the landlady of the White Horse Inn, (now known as the Rutland Arms), invited friends round for dinner. She was busy entertaining, so gave instructions to her cook directing her to make a pudding.
She told her to mix an egg mixture with a secret ingredient into a pastry case and spread strawberry jam on top. The cook was inexperienced so misunderstood Mrs. Greaves instructions, and poured the egg mixture onto the jam instead, therefore making a tart, not a pudding!
The tart was still served to the guests and as they praised the dish, Mrs Greaves ordered her staff to continue making them that way. They did as she asked and that's how the Bakewell tart was invented. Throughout the years there have been various alterations concerning the type of pastry to be used, but thanks to this the perfect desserts are currently on sale.
Today there's only one place that sells the traditional Bakewell Tart, which is the Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House, in Bakewell. 

Bakewell Tart Recipe

Ingredients:
• For the Pastry
• 6 oz/150g all purpose/plain flour (see tip below)
• pinch of salt
• 3oz/ 80g butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
• 2-3 tbsp cold water
• For the Filling
• 2 tbsp raspberry jam
• 1 1/2 sticks/ 150g butter
• 3/4 cup/ 150g super fine / caster sugar
• 3 medium eggs plus 1 yolk,, beaten
• 1 1/2 cups/ 150g ground almonds
• Zest of 1 medium lemon
• 2 tbsp flaked almonds
• 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preparation

Pastry
• Heat the oven 325F/170C/Gas 3
• Place the flour, butter and salt into a large clean bowl.
• Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.
• Add the water to the mixture and using a cold knife stir until the dough binds together, add more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry.
• Wrap the dough in Saran wrap/Clingfilm and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
Tart
• Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board to ¼ inch/5mm thick. Grease and then line an 8 inch/20cm deep tart tin with the pastry. Prick the base all over with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
• Line the tart case with baking/greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Cook for 15 minutes or until the pastry is a pale golden color. Remove the baking beans, lightly brush the inside of the pastry case with a little egg white, cook for a further 5 minutes. Spread the raspberry jam onto the base of the pastry case. Leave to cool.
• Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in color using an electric hand whisk. Add the beaten eggs and egg yolk a little at a time. Gently fold in the ground almonds and lemon zest.
• Pour the mixture in to the pastry case and gently level the surface to ensure the whole case is filled. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the flaked almonds on to the surface and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden and set.
• Leave to cool and serve with custard sauce or cream.
The tart can also be made as individual portions. Use a 12-hole muffin tin instead of a tart tin and follow the methods as above.

The dough can also be made in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of the processor on a pulse setting. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the water, slowly, through the funnel until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in Saran wrap/ Clingfilm and chill as above.

Tip: Use equal quantities of all-purpose flour and cake flour for a lighter pastry.

 

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