Recipe: Bakewell Tart

Author: Ed Schmeltzer

Photographer: Anna Kuryla


So here we are. Eleventh week.

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As I sit in my bedroom of almost a year now, blasting Summer of ’69 (and eating ice cream straight from the tub like a goddamn animal while I try to avoid panicking over the fact that finals are apparently here), I can’t help but to feel nostalgic. I’ve actually been at this school for a year now[1]—it feels like just yesterday I was a bright-eyed transfer student experiencing O-Week and feeling like I was above all the puny first-years:

 “because I’ve been to college before, don’tyouknow, and my laaast college was in New Yooork (thegreatestcityintheworld) and I’m just so cynical and worldly…”[2]

Now, butterfly-like, I have transformed into a marginally less arrogant, marginally better student. (Marginally is a key word here.) Hooray for personal growth! In any event, all this nostalgia drew me back to an earlier time—a time when my greatest concern was just what I was going to get for Christmas[3], and summers were a time where I really should have been outside, but instead I played Lego Star Wars for two months straight.[4] Indeed, whenever I did emerge from my troglodytic existence in the basement, I was often lured out by the promise of food at some friend or another’s birthday party.

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And that mildly clunky segue is how we arrive at the Bakewell tart, a staple food at children’s birthday parties everywhere[5]. The Bakewell tart combines the British predilection for putting jam in literally everything with a buttery crust, icing that is 99% sugar and (my favorite part) a wonderfully smooth almond filling.

 Look, we’ve been doing these a while now. You know the drill. Here’s the recipe:


Ingredients:

 Shortcrust Pastry:

  •  225 g plain flour

  • 150 g butter

  • 25 g confectioner’s sugar

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

 Fillings:

  • 150 g softened butter

  • 150 g sugar

  • 150 g almond flour

  • 1 large egg, beaten

Toppings:

  • 300 g confectioner’s sugar[6]

  • 1 tsp almond extract

  • Maraschino cherries

  • Sliced almonds

 

 Instructions:

  1. Measure the flour into a bowl and incorporate the cold butter with your fingertips until the mixture is pebbly and looks a bit like panko breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then add the egg, almond and vanilla extracts, and 2 tbsp water, until the dough comes together into a soft mass.

  2. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. Grease a pie pan and line it with the dough. Transfer to the fridge and let cool for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 390 F. Once the crust is cool, line it with parchment paper[7] and fill with uncooked rice. Bake for 15 mins, remove the paper and rice, and cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside to slightly cool.

  4. Spread the jam to cover the base of the pastry.

  5. To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar together, then add the almond flour and egg. Mix until it forms a paste, then spoon into the pastry case and smooth the surface.

  6. Reduce the temperature in the oven to 355 F, then bake for 25-35 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out relatively clean[8]. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pie plate.

  7. For the frosting/icing, dump the confectioner’s sugar and 3 tbsp cold water into a bowl and stir until it forms a paste[9]. Spoon the icing onto the top of the tart and decorate with maraschino cherries or (like I did) almonds.


[1] I’m not really sure how…I was certain they’d have caught up to the fact that wow I am not smart enough for this.

[2] Yes, I was an arrogant bastard. Yes, I did probably deserve to get hit. Yes, it is unsurprising that I made no friends during O-Week. You can stop pointing out ALL OF MY FLAWS now, if you’d like.

[3] Was it going to be Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare? Who knew? Well, I guess my parents did. And the guy at the store who sold them Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. And Santa.

[4] “Who needs friends when you have video games?” A mantra I still operate off of to this day.

[5] And as a staple after-school snack. And a staple during tea. Ok, it can do a lot.

[6] Yeah. You read that right. Now you understand why kids love this stuff.

[7] I did this with foil. As long as it doesn’t burn, you’re probably alright. (Great advice, Ed, you’re such a professional.)

[8] If it’s not a liquid, then we’re good.

[9] If you want to add other flavors to the icing (like vanilla etc), now is the time.

Melanie WangComment