Apologies for the lack of posts recently, time seems to have got away from me with work and one thing or another! Speaking of which, a few weeks ago we had a bit of a bake-off at work with the theme being pastry. Now I don’t often make pastry baked items for fear of a soggy bottom or just generally I’m not that confident with it. Also when Mary Berry admits she uses shop bought sometimes, that’s a good enough recommendation for me!
Given my lack of confidence with pastry I wasn’t going to enter the bake-off competition however my husband and mother persuaded me otherwise! I’ve always said I would like to make a Bakewell tart so what better time to try. The recipe I used is a Mary Berry one from the BBC Website – and it involves home-made pastry!
For the shortcrust pastry
- 175g/6oz plain flour
- 75g/2.5oz chilled butter
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
For the filling
- 1 tbsp raspberry jam
- 125g/4.5oz butter
- 125g/4.5oz caster sugar
- 125g/4.5oz ground almonds
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 50g/1.75oz flaked almonds
For the icing
- 80g/2.75oz icing sugar
- 2.5 tsp cold water
So the first job is to make the pastry – eek! The ‘proper’ way to do this is to put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add the water, mixing to form a soft dough. However, I used the food processor to mix the flour and butter, slowly adding the water so make a soft dough. You just need to make sure it doesn’t get too warm – the butter needs to stay cold.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a 20cm / 8in flan tin. I’m not sure how thick mine was, I just rolled it out enough to fill the tin! Leave it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 200C / 400F/ Gas 6 or 180C fan.
Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans, or alternatively use dry rice. Bake like this for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and foil and cook for a further five minutes to dry out the base.
For the filing, spread the base of the flan generously with raspberry jam. The recipe didn’t say whether to wait until the base cooled before adding the jam so I just gave it 5 minutes – the fact it was warm helped to spread the jam anyway!
Leave the pastry to one side while you melt the butter in a pan. Take it off the heat once its melted and then stir in the sugar. Add the ground almonds, egg and almond extract and mix it well until it’s all combined. Pour into the tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
Bake the tart for about 35 minutes. If the almonds seem to be browning too quickly, cover the tart loosely with foil to prevent them burning. Now, I found at this point that my pastry split slightly on the edge so I’ll make sure not to roll too thin or press it into the tin too tightly next time – hopefully that will help! It was at the end of the baking when I went to trim off the excess pastry although in hindsight I should have done this after the initial blind baking – oops!
I didn’t actually follow the next instructions as I didn’t think that traditionally you put icing on but perhaps I’ll give it a go next time. I’m not sure if this recipe was traditional but I assume so with it being a Mary Berry…
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, stir in the cold water and transfer it to a piping bag. Once you have removed the tart from the oven, pipe the icing over the top, giving an informal zig zag effect.
The Bakewell tart was really tasty with the pastry being lovely and flaky and no soggy bottom! I may cook it slightly less next time though as I’m concerned it was in a little too long. And the result of the bake-off….
Ta da! I was really pleased as it was judged by an actual chef from work! Definitely making this again!