In 2017, David won the Best Baker Award at the Baking Industry awards, while, last year, Pump Street won Best Producer at the OFM Awards. It's safe to say this Bakewell Tart recipe comes from a reliable source. We've baked it ourselves. It's a winner.
Below, David talks you through his memories of his father's own bakery, the history of Bakewell tarts and, of course, his recipe.
Redcurrant, Rhubarb & Vanilla Bakewell Tart
"As the oven door is cracked, a sweet almond scented breath shoots up and fills my face. I'm transported to a happy place, impatiently waiting for the Bakewell tarts to cool in my father’s bakery. Brushed with hot apricot jam, fondant coated and sent into the shop with the requisite glacier cherry. I give you here a more refined version of this famous British tart, made - as legend has it - by mistake. What a wondrous mistake it was! There is no mistaking the flavour in this jam, however. Each bite is a buttery, crumbly, nutty moment - gilded with bursts of rhubarb and redcurrant, and as each mouthful ends there is a whisper of vanilla that seems to say go on, take another bite."
You'll need (makes 6-8 individual tarts or 1 large one):
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 150g cold butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 50g egg yolk
- pinch of sea salt
For the frangipane (ensure all ingredients are at room temperature)
- 150g soft butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 150g ground almonds
- 35g plain flour
- pinch of sea salt
For the fillings & toppings
- 1 jar of Redcurrant, Rhubarb & Vanilla jam
- 1 jar of English Apricot jam
- flaked almonds
- glacier/fresh/maraschino cherry (optional)
- Make the pastry
- Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a bowl.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes - the smaller the better - and add to the dry ingredients.
- Delicately rub the butter and the flour together, quickly casting your thumbs over your fingers. You can also use a stand mixer or a food processor if you prefer.
- Once the texture resembles fine sand and all of the butter has been incorporated, add the egg yolk and mix together until a smooth dough forms. You want the dough to be devoid of dry elements but be careful not to knead for too long as this can make your pastry tight, chewy and prone to shrinkage.
- Wrap the dough in wax paper or cling film and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Make the frangipane
- Mix the flour, ground almonds and salt together in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the soft butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. Use an electric hand whisk or stand mixer for best results.
- Beat the eggs together separately, then slowly pour into the butter and sugar mixture, stirring continuously.
- If the mixture begins to curdle, either continue mixing until it comes together or add a sprinkle of the flour mixture.
- Gently fold in the flour mixture until smooth. Fill the mixture into a piping bag and set it aside. Do not refrigerate as the mix needs to be very soft.
- Roll out the pastry
- Once the pastry dough has rested, roll it out to the thickness of two bank cards - roughly speaking. Nice and thin.
- Grease your tart cases with melted butter or other fat and line the cases with the pastry.
- Place the pastry cases in the freezer for 30 minutes. If you'd like to make a bigger batch, they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Blind bake the pastry
- Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the cases from the freezer and line them with greaseproof paper and baking beans. I like haricot beans as they are small, heavy and round.
- Set your oven to 190°C (170°C fan-assisted) and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the beans and brush the inside of the case with egg and bake for a further 2 minutes. The egg wash varnish will help keep your pastry super crisp.
- Make 'n' Bake the tarts
- Spoon in the Redcurrant, Rhubarb & Vanilla jam. You are walking a tightrope here and you must be the judge of when to stop. Too little jam and the flavour will be reduced. Too much and it will spill over the sides when baked. The latter isn't always a bad thing...
- Pipe the frangipane against the side of the tart case and go round in ever-decreasing circles - don't allow any gaps for the jam to escape! If gaps do appear, smooth over with the back of a teaspoon.
- Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 20-30 minutes at 190°C (170°C fan-assisted), depending on the size of your cases.
- Once they are done, they should be springy to the touch and a toothpick will come out clean once inserted.
- Garnish and serve
- Once the tarts are out of the oven, leave to cool before removing from their cases.
- Brush with warmed English Apricot jam and scatter with some extra toasted almonds or, if you prefer, a little icing and a cherry. Although my memory will always be fixated on a glacier one, a fresh or maraschino cherry is always a real treat.
- Now, put the kettle on and give a friend a call. Enjoy!