A traditional, 19th-century English dessert, the Bakewell Tart is one of those fairly simple recipes that remains a classic because it is just that good. It’s undergone different variations, and this one doesn’t use raspberry or strawberry jam, or include fondant icing on the top like many of the commercially produced. It also includes not just jam, but also sour cherries in the jam layer to amp up the fruit flavor a bit more.
Whatever version of a Bakewell Tart you try, I highly recommend giving it a try, and don’t worry about being too fancy – add a good cup of tea, maybe a little whipped cream on the side if that’s your thing. But make it pretty and make it for afternoon tea!
I mostly followed the recipe for Sour Cherry Bakewell Tart at Eat Live Escape. For my version I went for 4-inch versions; the ingredients for a 9-inch single tart are more than sufficient for 5 this size. I like the look of the fluted tart, and recommend as well using the kind with removable bottoms. I did a very light spray with cooking spray, as well as having a piece of parchment on the bottom of the tart – they came out very easily once baked.
Once the tart shells are blind baked, just have the rest of the ingredients ready to go – cherry jam, sour cherries and frangipane. I’d recommend cherry jam with chunks of cherries – that way between the jam and the sour cherries, you get plenty of that nice tart/sweet cherry combo.
I just eyeballed the frangipane to distribute it between the tarts – they ended up pretty even, though, and you can fill them up just about to the top of the tart shell. They’ll puff a little bit in the baking, but I had no trouble with them rising over the crust. Just make sure to smooth out the tops as best you can before baking.
I just love how beautiful this tart looks on a tea table, especially with the dusting of icing sugar. It may not be that fancy as decoration goes, but the flavor is just luscious – what could be better than almonds and cherry in a short crust?
Cherry Bakewell Tart
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. caster sugar
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (set the whites aside for the frangipane filling)
- 1-2 Tbsp. cold water
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
- 120 g (~9 Tbsp.) butter
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 2 whole eggs, plus the whites reserved from the crust
- 1 and 1/3 c. almond meal
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. almond essence or extract
- 1 jar/can of sour pitted cherries, drained (12 oz. of frozen cherries work too, thawed and drained)
- 1 c. cherry jam
- 1/2 c. slivered or flaked almonds (for top)
- Powdered sugar for sifting over the top before serving
DirectionsTo make the Tart Crust: In a large bowl, mix together the flour and sugar. Add the grated cold butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb-like texture. Add the lightly beaten egg yolks, almond extract and water and bring it together; it will make a sticky dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured work surface (or skip the flour and roll it out between two pieces of parchment). For making multiple smaller tarts, you may split the dough into half and roll them out separately. You will need to roll out the dough more than once to make five 4-inch tarts (only once if you’re making the 9-inch tart). Try not to overwork the dough too much.
Cut the excess dough around the edges of the fluted tart tins (preferably with removable bottoms) and use a fork to prick a few holes in the bottom. Chill the tart rounds in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking.
When you are ready to bake the tart crusts, preheat the oven to 350° F. Blind bake the tart rounds for 10 minutes using parchment and pie weights. Remove the paper and pie weights and continue the blind bake another 5 minutes.
Remove the tart crusts from the oven and set on wire cooling racks.
To make the Frangipane filling: You can mix this together while the tart crusts are blind baking: Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add two eggs and remaining whites, beat well, and add the almond essence. Finally, add the almond meal and plain flour, mixing until it’s just all combined.
To finish the tarts: Spread the cherry jam over the blind-baked tart crusts (they can still be warm); be generous with the jam!
Drain the sour cherries (whether from jar, can or thawed from frozen), and place the cherries evenly over the jam-covered crust. Spoon over the frangipane (evenly between the 5 tarts if you are doing multiple), and smooth the surface.
Scatter the top with the sliced or slivered almonds, then bake for 30-35 mins, until it’s golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the middle. (You can also wait and scatter the almonds on the top about 5 minutes before the tart is done and you’re ready to take it out of the oven.)
Cool on a wire rack and sift powdered sugar over the top just before slicing and serving. You may also serve with whipped cream.
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