I had promised a Bakewell Tart for my friend Rosemary last week who was holding an Amnesty Tea Party. She does it every year and I always bake for her and so got out my trusty cook books to check the recipe. I found at least three different versions in three different books. They all used a pastry case but the filling differed; in one the sponge mixture used self raising flour and ground almonds; and another used self raising flour and almond flavouring (it was called a 'cheat's Bakewell) and the third one, which was the one I used in the end (though slightly adapted) had a filling which used ground almonds and breadcrumbs and NO flour.
I made short crust pasty, sweetened with a tablespoonful of icing sugar and mixed up with an egg. Did not do this by hand this time but whipped up in my food processor and then put in 'fridge for half an hour. Rolled out, put in baking tin, lined the case with foil and baking beans and baked blind in the oven for half an hour. While this was taking place I made the filling which was as follows:
6oz unsalted butter and 6 oz caster sugar beaten until soft and fluffy. Beat in strained juice of two lemons, grated zest of same lemons, then four beaten eggs (little at a time). then fold in 30z fresh white breadcrumbs and 2oz ground almonds. The mixture is quite soft.
The mixture is then poured into the pastry case and at this stage I put two tablespoonsfuls of strawberry jam and spread out over the pastry before the mixture then went on top. This particular recipe did not use jam at all but I decided to put it in. Baked in the oven at Gas 4/350F/180C for an hour until filling is firm and a rich golden brown.
Mem: I was a trifle worried that the pastry case, which had already cooked blind for half an hour would be too tough after an extra hour's baking and at first when taking it out of the oven I felt it was, but once cooled it was OK. However, it was a little too crispy for my taste so next time I make this I am going to cut the blind cooking to 15 minutes.
I then allowed the Tart to cool and covered with white glace icing. Piped chocolate icing in lines across the tart and using my cake tester pulled the lines in opposite directions to form a feathered pattern. All was well until the end when a great blob fell out of my icing bag and ruined the pattern!!
This recipe was absolutely delicious and the filling light and fluffy with a wonderful taste of almonds. the lemon juice took the edge of the sweetness and I think it is one of the nicest bakewells I have ever baked. I came across another recipe later in a book for Lancaster Tart, baked in a similar fashion but with lemon curd at the bottom instead of jam so may try that next time.
The recipe I used in the end came from a cook book I have had for years 'Michael Smith's Afternoon Tea'. Published in 1986, this lovely man was about as far away as you can get from the publicity mad chefs and cooks we have had to suffer over the last ten years. He is sadly no longer with us but was modest and self effacing and I remember him well - this book is pretty dog eared now and stained on certain pages, but will remain firmly in my collection. Used imperial measures so no grammes this time, only ounces!