Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mini-Bakewell and Jam Tarts

This is a lovely variation on the classic Bakewell Tart, which to the best of my knowledge is almond topping a pastry base, with strawberry or raspberry jam in the middle. I sometimes make a full-sized tart, although tart is probably a misnomer as its only relationship to a tart is the pastry base, with the topping made of a cake-like mix. In fact some recipes only use a rich marzipan-(egg-sugar-almond) mix with no flour, and I rarely do this, as I find it a bit overwhelmingly rich and prefer a Victoria Sponge-type filling.
These are delicious bite-sized buns actually, the sweet shortbread pastry base is crisp and light and a perfect foil to the sponge topping, with the pastry strips on top finishing it off nicely and using up the trimmings as well. I have put Lidl marzipan (very yellow this, as it is commercial and not lovingly hand made from scratch as my Christmas Cake Almond Paste was, honest!) in some of them; it tasted just fine and despite the colour it was not full of artificial E-numbers.
(I actually Googled the colouring agent, Lutein, and it is classified as a natural herbal food colour extracted from Marigolds which as many of you will know have numerous properties besides being nice flowers. They are an excellent insect repellent in vegetable gardens, and in Tanzania the Mexican Marigold root was used to make a natural insect repellent on crops in the villages where our NGO had projects, with great effect!) There's a bit of information you didn't expect in a recipe for Bakewell Tarts so back to the main topic and here is the recipe for them.

Mini-Bakewell and Jam Tarts


(for 24 tarts or 2 bun trays full)

8oz/225gm flour (self-raising or plain with 2-3 teaspoons baking powder)
8oz/225gm sugar

8oz/225gm butter

4 eggs

Almond or Vanilla Essence (as preferred)

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (for base) (*half this quantity is probably enough but I make a batch and freeze the leftover for another day)

1lb/450gm plain flour8oz/225gm chilled butter (preferable to margarine).
2 oz/50gm sugar (or caster sugar or icing sugar).
1 egg.
A few tablespoons of cold water to bind.

Fillings: Strawberry Jam or Marzipan


Rub the butter into the flour until crumbly consistency.

Add sugar and egg, mix well with knife blade.

Add water if necessary to bind, careful not to overhandle.

Roll out and cut with cookie cutter to fit baking tray cups - line tray cups with pastry discs and add a dollop - teaspoon - of jam or marzipan.

Cake topping

Put all ingredients into mixing bowl and whisk together, using electric whisk preferably. Otherwise, using a wooden spoon, cream butter and sugar well, add essence and beaten eggs and flourand baking powder (if used) alternately until a dropping consistency is reached.

Add spoonfuls of the cake mix to the pastry/jam bases and decorate with strips of pastry leftovers as you wish - a cross, basketweave or whatever takes your fancy. This bit is entirely optional!

Bake in a hot preheated oven (200degrees Centigrade/375 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10-15 mins, reduce heat to 150 degrees Centigrade/300 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake to golden brown and pastry should be light golden colour.

Remove and cool, then sieve icing sugar on top to decorate - I like this finish but you can leave plain if you prefer.

Enjoy! Delicious warm with a nice cuppa tea!


FoodFunFarmLife said...

I've never attempted to make Bakewell Tarts & the only ones I've ever eaten were the shop bought variety when I was in the UK once. Yours look delicous, though !

Peggy said...

I have never used marzipan in baking only for icing maybe I have been missing something!I used to make batches of cakes like this when the kids were at home. Pastry base with jam or stewed apple filling, with 'queen cake' mixture on top and iced to finish.

Jeanne said...

I love all the pictures showing the preparation. And they look so delicious I'd love to be having one with a nice cup of tea right now.

Catherine said...

Thanks for the comments, these are indeed more-ish.
LYNDA - if you've only eaten shop ones then you definitely have to try home-made! There is no comparison, even Mr. Kipling which is kinda the gold standard for shop-bought in the UK/Ireland are nowhere near it. And like Peggy writes, these are the same like she made.
PEGGY - glad you know these and I don't think you miss out with not using marzipan, I only use it for almond paste icing and just tried it here as I wanted to use the Lidl marzipan - it comes in sausage-like rolls like black pudding!Anyway the book recipe I have for Bakewell is ground almonds mixed with sugar and eggs, i.e. Marzipan!
Also the stewed apple filling is lovely, I've done this and forgot to mention it so thanks for the reminder! Iced finish is a good alternative to the pastry strips.

Catherine said...

JEANNE, your comment came in after I wrote the above response to Lynda and Peggy- thanks for the comment and I am enjoying doing these baking posts, even if my kids are laughing at my propensity of photographing my various stages of preparation! They are worth trying and easy too.
I just posted a commment on your blog about the Friendship Cake, fascinating and I look forward to enlightenment!

Jeannette StG said...

If you ever would leave nursing, you could teach cooking, or have a cooking blog, that's for sure:) i love marzipan - thanks for the recipe!

Caroline said...

Thankyou Catherine for leaving your kind & thoughtful commnet on my blog. It means alot.

Unknown said...

Catherine, thank you for your comment on my book review blog:) It constantly amazes me that we can come together here from all over the world...I love the "blogging world"! Your pictures are beautiful---we don't have castles in Midwestern U.S.:). Your recipes look great, and I, also, like the step-by-step pictures. I've added a couple to my blog, but would like to do more.