Originally called Bakewell puddings, Bakewell tarts are said to date back to the 16th century and to have been invented by accident when a cook at a local inn misunderstood her employer’s instructions to make a strawberry tart. Instead of adding eggs and sugar to the pastry, she beat them with a secret ingredient and spread the mixture over the strawberries.
- 225g (8oz) shortcrust pastry
- 50g (2oz) strawberry jam
- 100g (4oz) butter, softened
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 50g (2oz) ground almonds
- 50g (2oz) self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 175g (6oz) icing sugar, sifted
- 1–2 tablespoons water
- 20 cherries (fresh, stoned or glacé)
Make the pastry according to the instructions on page 15 and chill for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6. Grease 20 cupcake tins.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and cut 20 circles using a 7.5 cm (3 in) cutter. Use to line the prepared tins and spread a little jam in the base of each.
Beat together the butter and caster sugar, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding half the ground almonds after each one. Add the flour and almond extract, and stir well.
Spoon the batter into the pastry cases and bake for 20 minutes until well risen, firm and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins.
Mix together the icing sugar and enough water to make a thick icing and, when the tarts are cold, spoon the icing on the top. Decorate each one with a cherry.
Makes 20 Tarts.
Cakes, Bakes & Biscuits by National Trust Books. Photography © Pavilion Books.