Hello my lovely followers. I haven’t posted for a few weeks now, as my oven broke. Nightmare! It’s all fixed now, though, and Autumn is well and truly here – my favourite season. So I thought I’d share one of my oldest and favourite dessert recipes, an autumn twist on a traditional Bakewell Tart.
Bakewell Tarts come in many shapes and designs. From tiny tartlets to large family sized tarts and traybakes. Some have icing on the top, some are plain and some are decorated with flaked almonds and glace cherries. But at it’s core, a traditional Bakewell Tart always consists of a shortcrust pastry base topped with a layer of cherry jam and a layer of frangipane. Simple but delicious, I love them. Well I thought I’d put a seasonal twist on mine by swapping the charry jam for homemade blackberry jam and adding pears. Yum!
I’ve used tinned pears in my recipe as they’re already peeled and softened from sitting in the syrup, but feel free to experiment with fresh pears if you like. I think you’d have to use very ripe pears, or slice them very thinly to make sure they cook through. If you try it, let me know how it goes! Another reason I like to use tinned pears, is I like to brush a little of the syrup over the tart when it’s still hot, fresh out of the oven. You don’t have to do this, of course, but I like it, it really intensifies the pear flavour. Don’t throw away any left over syrup, use it to make an Elderflower and Pear Martini – recipe here. – It’s delicious!
You can, of course, use shop bought ready to roll pastry, or a ready made pastry case, but it’s really quick and easy to make it yourself, it’s much cheaper than buying pre-made too. I’ve included my short crust pastry recipe below, but use whatever you’re comfortable with – no judgement here.
I like this dessert served hot with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Usually, once I’ve made the tart, I allow it to cool completely, slice it into portions, and store it in clingfilm or in an airtight container in the freezer. Then I just take a piece out and warm it through in the microwave for a minute or so. The pastry does soften slightly, but because I blind baked it, it doesn’t go soggy. It makes for a really quick, delicious dessert, perfect for unexpected company or cure for a sudden sweet tooth.
Ready in 1 hour (10mins prep, 15mins blind bake, 5mins fill, 30mins bake)
For the pastry:
- 200g of plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 100g of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 100mls of cold water
For the filling:
- 100g of caster sugar
- 100g of sifted icing sugar
- 200g of ground almonds
- Half a teaspoon of almond essence
- 2 free-range eggs
- 3 tablespoons of blackberry jam (homemade or shop bought)
- 1 tin of pear halves in syrup (200g-250g drained weight)
- The syrup from the tinned pears (optional)
- A handful of flaked almonds.
To make the pastry:
- Preheat your oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas mark 6.
- Mix the flour, salt and butter into a bowl.
- Cut into the butter with a blunt knife to break it down a bit, then rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the cold water and mix it in using the blunt knife, then bring it together with your fingers to form a ball of dough.
- Spray a pie dish or flan tin with fry light or something similar, or grease with butter.
- Put the dough into the dish and spread out evenly with your hands, across the base and up the sides of the tin. Trimming off any excess around the sides.
- Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice and bake in the oven for 10mins.
- Remove the parchment and beans/rice and return to the oven, uncovered for 5 mins to crisp up the pastry. This is blind baking.
To make the Filling:
- Meanwhile, mix the caster sugar, icing sugar and ground almonds together in a bowl.
- Add the eggs and almond essence and mix well. This is your frangipane.
To put the tart together:
- Spread the jam over the bottom of the pastry case and spread the frangipane on top. I find it’s easiest to place small amounts of frangipane all over the jam, then mix each dollop of frangipane into each other, or you may end up mixing the jam into the frangipane instead of keeping them seperate.
- Drain the pear halves and cut them in half, lengthways.
- Arrange the pear slices on top of the frangipane, pushing each peace into the frangipane slightly.
- Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top and bake, uncovered for 25-30mins.
- Turn the tart in the oven, half way through baking to ensure an even bake.
- Remove from the oven and let it stand in the tin for a few mins to set the frangipane before serving.
- If you want a stronger pear flavour, brush a small amount of the syrup from the tinned pears on to the hot tart as it comes out of the oven.
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