Mary Berry's Bakewell Tart

This recipe is perfect because one, I always have a few bags of fresh frozen blueberries on hand. Freezing fresh fruit in-season is a win-win all winter long! My stash of fresh frozen blueberries is the perfect antidote when the autumnal equinox has arrived and I've already started counting the days till the next summer solstice. Their sweetness also works perfectly with the almond filling.

Reason number two? Watching Mary Berry on old episodes of The Great British Baking Show never gets old. The original British show, The Great British Bake Off (or GBBO as it’s known across the pond) is in its 10th season while we've only had the pleasure of seven. I’m absolutely certain I wasn’t the only American who tried to find a way to stream those missing British episodes back in May during peak lock-down! Ok, enough with all that. Let’s don our aprons, flour up our pastry boards, pull out those rolling pins, and start channeling our inner baker.

UPDATE — New Season Great British Baking Show!!!!!!

Announced last week while I was on vacation new episodes of this beloved baking competition are coming to Netflix starting this Friday, September 25th. A new episode will drop every Friday until the winner is crowned. Thank god for British TV (and Netflix)!

A traditional bakewell tart is composed of 4 things:

1. Sweet short-crust pastry. Mary’s recipe is lightly sweet, super flaky and perfect.
 
2. Fruit filling. Mary, our queen of bakes, uses a homemade raspberry jam; I made a blueberry filling instead.

3. Almond Cream (aka frangipane) is a thick, batter-type filling made of finely ground almonds, butter, castor sugar, and whole eggs. I substituted vanilla extract for almond in my version, for a less in-your-face almond flavor.
 
4. Simple Icing. Mary ices the entire top of the tart and then adds a lovely feathered pattern. I just drizzled a little from side to side and tossed some thinly sliced toasted almonds on top. Then, just before serving, she added a quick dusting of powdered sugar. Many folks in England will argue that a bakewell tart shouldn't have icing at all! Apparently, when the “Bakewell” episode first aired in Britain, it caused quite the row on Twitter.

Mary Berry's Bakewell Tart (with a few tweaks)

Courtesy LHTC (via Mary Berry and the BBC)
Servings: 8-10 | Prep Time 1-2 hours | Cook Time

A Few Important Notes About Ingredients.

The ingredients are measured in grams. A kitchen scale will be able to measure in grams, as well as ounces. If you don't have one, you should. A good kitchen scale comes in handy for more than this recipe alone. We have several to choose from and they all easily switch between ounces and grams. Browse our Digital Kitchen Scales » 

The recipe calls for a common baking ingredient in Britain, castor sugar or baker’s sugar, which can be hard to find in the United States. No worries. A few quick pulses in a small food processor, blender or a clean spice/coffee grinder will do the trick. You’ll need to add a bit more sugar than the recipe calls for. The pulsing process will reduce the yield of the sugar. For every cup or 220 grams of sugar you should add a couple of teaspoons. Always re-measure the super-fine sugar before adding it to the recipe.

Icing sugar is what the Brits call what we know as powdered or confectioners’ sugar. Use powdered (confectioners) sugar whenever icing sugar is called for and there is no need to adjust the amount.

Wild Blueberry Filling Ingredients
  • 300 grams frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 52 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients
  • 225 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 150 grams butter, chilled
  • 25 grams icing sugar (see ingredient notes above)
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
Almond Filling Ingredients
  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • 150 grams caster sugar (see ingredient notes above)
  • 150 grams ground almonds
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp almond extract (I replaced with vanilla extract) Try our NEW Vain Baker’s Blend Vanilla. We love it!
Icing Ingredients
  • 300 grams icing sugar (see ingredient notes above)
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk (give or take, use enough to get a thick spreadable consistency)
  • Thinly sliced almonds, toasted, for the top

Directions for the Jam Filling

  1. Put the blueberries in a medium saucepan. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together and add to the blueberry mixture. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to thicken and lightly simmer. Add lemon juice to taste. Then remove from heat and let cool.

Directions for the Pastry
    1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
    2. Measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (or use a pastry cutter). Stir in the icing (powdered) sugar. Add the egg and 2 tablespoons cold water, mixing to form a soft dough.
    3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of a pound coin (Mary’s words, not mine). Line a 9-inch 2-Piece Fluted Tart Pan (I used a 13″ by 4″ rectangular tart pan I've had for years) and transfer to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. It's important to use a pan 2-piece pan with a removable bottom. It makes removing the tart for serving much easier.
    4. Line the chilled tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or unbaked beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and cook for another 5 minutes to dry out the base.
    5. Set aside to cool a little before adding the filling. When mostly cooled, spread 3/4 cup of blueberry filling on the base of the tart shell.

        Directions for Almond Filling
        1. Cream the butter and castor (super-fine) sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, egg and almond extract and mix together. Pipe the mixture into the pastry case as shown above. Here's a 3-Piece Extra Wide Piping Set from Ateco.
        2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and bake for 25–35 minutes, until golden-brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing it. This is where a two-piece tart pan comes in very handy.

        Directions for the Icing

        9. Whisk together the icing (powdered) sugar, almond extract and the milk until smooth.

        10. When the baked tart has cooled completely, drizzle the icing on top and sprinkle with finely sliced toasted almonds. Right before serving add a light dusting of icing (powdered) sugar. Slice and serve.

        Enjoy! -Frankie

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