As a child growing up in Yorkshire, one of my favourite treats was an individual Mr. Kipling’s bakewell tart, with a glossy candied cherry in the centre. While I’d probably not say no to one if I found them in the United States (where I live now), I didn’t realise until adulthood how truly fantastic a good, homemade bakewell tart could be, versus the factory-made pastries of my childhood. I brought this tart to an American 4th of July gathering, and was shocked that a few American guests knew precisely what it was! They acknowledged they’d seen them on the popular television series ‘The Great British Bake Off’.
My bakewell is a bit different in that I use my homemade strawberry rose jam (a recipe I will need to publish at some point soon). If you don’t have strawberry rose jam on hand you can use strawberry (or raspberry) jam with a touch of rose water for a similar effect. I also use an almond shortcrust pastry – part flour, part almond flour; and instead of almond extract in the frangipane (the soft center of the tart) I use mahlab, a Middle Eastern baking spice to give it a natural almond taste (I also use this in my clafoutis, for the same effect). If you don’t have mahlab you can simply omit it, and add just a few drops of almond extract if desired.
The tart is honestly just as good without the icing – and actually, as I’m not big on very sweet things, I found I actually preferred it without. It would be equally lovely (and a touch less rich) simply topped with sifted confectioner’s (icing) sugar and dried rose petals. Here’s what it looked like right out of the oven:
I do acknowledge that the iced version is certainly a bit prettier / fussier looking, it almost looks like something from a Victorian era afternoon tea – which I love, but it is indeed very sweet. You may have leftover icing as well – which you can use to ice shortbread cookies or other desserts. I’d err on the side of using less of the royal icing so that it doesn’t end up too sweet.
This recipe can actually be made completely gluten free by using almond flour for the crust in place of the all-purpose flour, and removing the tablespoon of flour in the frangipane filling with a teaspoon of starch (tapioca, corn, potato, or arrowroot work here).
Almond Shortcrust Pastry
- 1 cup all purpose flour 128g
- ½ cup almond flour (or finely ground almond meal) 50g
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar 63g
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 stick butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 113g
- 1 large egg
- In a food processor (or bowl), combine all ingredients until a dough forms. Refrigerate for 2 hours (wrapped / covered) then roll out to fit your tart tin (9" / 23cm)
Strawberry Rose Bakewell Tart
- 9" / 23cm tart tin with removable bottom.
For the Bakewell:
- 1 chilled, almond shortcrust pastry (see recipe)
- 1 cup blanched, coarsely ground almonds 100g
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- ½ tsp mahlab optional
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar 135g
- 1 stick, plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature 128g
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- 1½ tsp fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup strawberry rose jam, or strawberry jam with 1 tsp rose water mixed in 165g
For the Rose Water Royal Icing:
- 1¾ cups confectioner's sugar 200g
- 1-2 Tbsp cold water plus more, if needed
- 1 tsp rose water
- 1 tsp dried rose petals for garnish, optional
- 1 small dried rose, for center for garnish, optional
- Grease your tart tin with butter, and line with your chilled rolled shortcrust pastry.
- Spread your jam into the bottom of the pastry crust.
- Mix your frangipane ingredients: almonds, flour, mahlab, sugar, butter, egg and egg white, and lemon zest, thoroughly – either by hand or in a stand mixer. Pour over the jam and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Heat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake the tart for 45-55 minutes with the tart tin placed on top of a baking sheet, until the top is golden and a toothpick pulled from the center is clean. Cool on a wire rack for two hours, then ice if desired.
- Mix your icing sugar, rose water, and enough water to form a thick icing. You can add a teaspoon of corn syrup if desired to add shine. Pour on to fully cooled tart, and garnish with dried rose petals as desired.