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All About Traditional Bakewell tart

The traditional Bakewell tart is a British institution, a fruity creamy dessert so feted it even has its own day (celebrated 14 August). A great addition to any pudding menu, it has the perfect mix of nostalgia and timelessness to appeal to all kinds of customers.

But what are the best Bakewell tart ingredients? Does it contain any allergens? What is the best thing to serve it with? Well, we have all the answers and some top tips for making your own...

What is a Bakewell tart?

A Bakewell tart is a baked dessert associated with the town Bakewell in Derbyshire, England.

It is made with shortcrust pastry and filled with jam and frangipane and topped with flaked almonds (and in the case of a cherry Bakewell, a halved glacé cherry).

The Bakewell tart evolved from the Bakewell pudding, and the two names are often interchanged and used for the same thing.

Why is it called a Bakewell tart?

Bakewell tart is named after the Derbyshire town of Bakewell, where the Bakewell pudding (later to evolve into the Bakewell tart) was first served in the (no longer standing) White Horse Inn. The exact date of its creation is unknown, but the recipe for Bakewell pudding first appeared in print in 1845, in a cookbook by Eliza Acton. It is thought that the recipe was modified some time in the early 20th century to become Bakewell tart.

Bakewell tart tip!

Do not allow your oven to get too hot - this will cook the outside of the tart much quicker than the inside and result in either a burnt tart or an underbaked filling.

What are the ingredients in a Bakewell tart?

There are multiple ingredients in a Bakewell tart. The base tart is made from a shortcrust pastry of butter, flour, salt and water, then comes a layer of jam made from fruit (strawberries or raspberries) and sugar, then a layer of frangipane - made from butter, eggs, ground almonds, sugar, almond extract and some flour. The tart is topped with flaked almonds.

What’s the difference between Bakewell tart and frangipane?

Frangipane is not an alternative to Bakewell tart, but instead one of the ingredients in a Bakewell tart, used for the filling.

Frangipane is an Italian word, recorded in a confectioners dictionary as far back as 1732 and is thought to have come from Marquis Muzio Frangipani or Cesare Frangipani. Whilst frangipane recipes can vary, it is generally made from two parts almond cream (typical ingredients are butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, bread flour, and rum) and one part pastry cream (typical ingredients are milk, vanilla beans, cornstarch, sugar, egg and butter).

Some old Bakewell tart (and Bakewell pudding recipes) use a custard filling instead of frangipane.

Bakewell tart tip!

Blind-bake the pastry tart shell before cooking with the filling, for a better crust texture.

What pastry is Bakewell tart made from?

Bakewell tart is made from shortcrust pastry, which is a crumbly and buttery pastry made using the “shortening” method. Shortcrust pastry is made with butter (or some type of fat), flour (usually wheat), salt and water, with the ratio being 1 part fat to 4 parts flour.

What do you serve with Bakewell tart?

Bakewell tart is best served warm, with either ice-cream to contrast, or custard to complement. Bakewell tart is also sometimes served with cream.

Bakewell tart tip!

Using low-sugar jam instead of regular jam isn’t just a lower calorie option, it will give a more subtle taste for those without a sweet tooth.

Does Bakewell tart contain any allergens?

A traditional Bakewell tart contains several of the 14 major food allergens. These are:

Is Bakewell tart vegan?

No, traditional Bakewell tart is not vegan as it contains several animal-derived ingredients, including butter and eggs.

Bakewell tart tip!

The filling of a Bakewell tart should be "just set". So take it out of the oven before it gets too firm.

Is Bakewell tart gluten free?

No, Bakewell tart is not usually gluten-free, as it has a pastry base made with wheat flour. Wheat is a Cereal containing Gluten.

What’s the difference between a Bakewell tart and a cherry Bakewell?

A Cherry Bakewell is a version of the Bakewell tart where a layer of almond fondant is added on top of the frangipane and topped with a halved glacé cherry. Cherry Bakewells are usually small and served as individual tarts, whereas the traditional Bakewell tart is a tray bake cut into slices post-oven.

Bakewell tart tip!

Add a pinch of baking powder to the frangipane to make it pack an extra punch.

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