Recipe - Fresh Strawberry Bakewell Tart
Spring here in Andalucia is an abundant time. This season is bursting with the most delicious strawberries from Huelva and Conil, and asparagus is growing everywhere. You can buy punnets and bunches respectively from the greengrocers for next to nothing, so it has made sense to maximise the opportunity presented by this glut of goodness.
Fresh Strawberry Bakewell Tart
This is a variation of a fabulous recipe by Ruth Rogers, and the variation came about because, when we initially attempted it, we found that we hadn’t ground enough almonds; as the Frangipane needs ground almonds and I couldn’t find any, I bought almonds that we then had to blanch, skin and grind. I went off to work and left poor Andrew to do this arduous task with the explicit instructions NOT to over-grind the pesky nuts or they would coagulate. He was very stressed and I think the task took the best part of a day, but after the faff, we ended up with 250g of ground almonds instead of the requisite 300g, so I replaced the missing nuts with self-raising flour. Of course, our local supermarket does have ground almonds, but not where you’d expect to find them. However, our alteration remains fixed.
Sweet pastry ingredients
250g plain flour
150g salted butter
60g icing sugar, or slightly less if you prefer using less sugar, as we do
2 egg yolks
300g salted butter at room temperature
280/300g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
50g self-raising flour
3 tablespoons plain flour
Homemade strawberry jam
Make the pastry by rubbing ice cold, cubed butter into the flour until you have what resembles breadcrumbs. This is far easier if you have a food processor, but we don’t….yet. Add the icing sugar and mix together and then separate the two eggs and plonk in the yolks. Cut through the mix with a knife, bringing the mix together until it starts to bind and then get your hand in and bring it all together into a ball. If needs be, add a splash of cold water, but not too much, and then knead it gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and put the ball of pastry in the fridge for at least one hour. I generally make it the night before I need to use it.
When you’re ready to make the tart, roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is thin and large enough to line a 23-25cm flan dish. We have recently bought a silicone flan dish and love it for this recipe! Carefully lay the pastry into the dish and gently ease it into the edges. Trim off the excess pastry from around the edge and then prick the base all over with a fork. Place the lined dish into the freezer for ten minutes while you heat the oven to 180C.
Remove the flan dish from the freezer and line it with baking paper and fill this with rice or baking beans - anything heavy enough to keep the pastry in place while you bake it. Blind bake for 20 minutes then remove the paper and beans, reduce the oven temperature to 150C and bake for a further 10 minutes until it just starts to change to a golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven back up to 180C
Next, make the frangipane filling, and this is where I adapted the recipe to make do with the ingredients I ended up with. Place the soft butter into a bowl with the sugar. Whenever I follow a recipe I never use the amount of sugar stated, which is why I have said 280/300g to suit taste. I hate cakes and desserts that are too sweet. Using an electric whisk, beat the sugar and butter together until smooth and then crack in the 3 eggs and beat again until light and fluffy. Add the flour and ground almonds and mix with a wooden spoon until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
When the pastry case has cooled, spread a thin layer of strawberry jam over the bottom. Of course it doesn’t have to be homemade, but I just wanted to mention that we did, in fact, make our own strawberry jam from another delivery of the fresh fruit - our kitchen is a veritable Good Housekeeping Institute.
On top of the jam, spread the frangipane out to the edges and smooth flat on top. Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the mix has set. Poke the mix with a skewer and if it comes out clean, then it is cooked. Leave to one side to cool completely.
Wash, hull and then slice some fresh strawberries and dry them with some kitchen roll. Once the tart is cool, arrange the strawberries on the top in any aesthetically pleasing design. We were given some delicious crabapple jelly by friends who came to visit, and we melt this in a small saucepan and brush it over the strawberries to glaze them. You can use any jelly or clear jam as a glaze.
This serves around 10-12 people and it is rather delicious, even if we say so ourselves.