The word “bakewell” has come up several times during my travels through the interwebs as of late, always in conjunction with the word “tart.” Now I obviously know what a tart is, but I confess I really had no idea what bakewell meant and had never looked it up.
A bit of research revealed that Bakewell is a town in England, and judging by the name, I think I’d love to live there. (Can you imagine how cool it would be if Josey Baker baked his bread in Bakewell, England? I digress.)
Anyways, as with most stories behind classic old recipes, it’s hard to tell fact from myth. But the bakewell tart supposedly dates back to the early 1800s, and is composed of a pastry shell, a thin layer of jam (raspberry appears to be traditional), and an almond-y frangipane sponge. Sounds fantastic, right?
Well my Saturdays are for trying new things and having fun in the kitchen, and I decided that this week the bakewell tart would be my project. What came out of the oven was a decidedly rustic and non-traditional version of the original, but hopefully just as tasty.
First, I made a gluten free tart shell. It was so beautiful until it developed a fissure during the last 5 minutes of its pre-bake, but I’m convinced that was my fault, because I tasted the dough. Like three times. And that dough obviously would’ve been put to better use on the bottom of the tart shell. Fissure and all, it’s a fantastic crust.
Secondly, I used pomegranate jelly instead of raspberry jam. I did this because it’s what I had open in the fridge currently, it’s one of my most favorite things on earth, and pomegranates are in season right now. So this is a bakewell tart for fall! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen pomegranate jelly in a store (ours is given to us yearly by family friends who make it from their own pomegranate trees), so by all means, substitute a different flavor. Raspberry and cherry are traditional. Strawberry would be good too!
Make the crust. It has to chill in the freezer for 45 minutes in the pan. That gives you plenty of time to make the filling. Let that chill while the crust bakes. Clean the kitchen (you’ll feel good about yourself) while the crust cools. To finish things up, spread the jam, spread the filling, sprinkle the almonds, bake, and cool! And you’re done.
C R U S T
142 grams (1 cup) white rice flour
60 grams (½ cup) powdered sugar
40 grams (¼ cup) sweet rice flour
30 grams (¼ cup) tapioca starch
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 ounces (¼ cup) ice water
F I L L I N G
120 grams (1 cup) almond meal
15 grams (1½ tablespoons) gf all purpose flour
142 grams (⅔ cup) sugar (I used raw; grind it up first before adding the almond meal)
9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg white
½ teaspoon almond extract
⅓ cup pomegranate jelly
Sliced almonds, for garnish
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Combine the white rice flour, powdered sugar, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until evenly distributed throughout and no large pieces remain. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and ice water. Add to the flour mixture and pulse just until the dough comes together into a soft ball.
Lightly coat a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Dollop little spoonfuls of the dough into the pan around the edge and then in the center. Use your palms and fingers to press the dough into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Run a knife around the top of the pan to cleanly trim the excess dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then transfer to the freezer to chill for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the shiny side of a piece of foil with cooking spray and lay it (greased side down) over the tart. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before filling.
While the tart shell bakes and cools, wash your food processor and whip up the filling. Pulse the almond meal, gluten free flour, and sugar together until combined. Add the butter and process until smooth. Add the egg, egg white, and almond extract and process until well combined. Scoop into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the tart shell has cooled, use an offset spatula to spread your jam/jelly of choice evenly across the bottom of the tart. Rinse the spatula. Scoop little spoonfuls of the filling into the tart shell, distributing evenly across. Gently bring the little mounds together with the spatula, until all of the dots are connected and the top is smooth.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crust and filling have turned golden brown. Let the tart cool on a wire rack before serving (with a dusting of powdered sugar, if you’d like).
Makes one 9-inch tart.
Bonus behind-the-scenes view for making it to the end of this lengthy post: