Bakewell pudding is an classic English dessert that made famous the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England. Three shops in Bakewell claim to have the original recipe for bakewell pudding and its variants, one of which is a cherry bakewell, also known as bakewell tart.
For our Christmas bakewell tart we use cranberries because it’s so festive, especially when decorated with green pumpkin seeds and white almond flakes. I love the way the cranberries burst as they are baked, releasing veins of red that streak across the frangipane filling.
The tartness of the cranberries also cuts through the sweet filling to give a good balance of sour and sweet. If you can’t find fresh cranberries, you can search the frozen section. I would not recommend dried cranberries as they may make the whole dessert overly sweet. You can substitute with raspberries or pitted cherries, though.
The frangipane filling has quite a history on its own, with the French and Italian claiming to be originator. The word frangipane, like the flower frangipani, means perfumed, and if you’ve tasted this you’d agree how wonderfully fragrant it is. Although the traditional recipe calls for castor sugar, I’ve always used soft brown sugar because it is less sweet and gives a better flavour.
This is one of the tarts that I make quite often because it is relatively easy to prepare ahead of time. I have frozen tubs of frangipane filling ready to thaw and bake at any time. I also bake them into mini tartlets, bite-size morsels that are perfect as gifts and stocking-stuffers.
- Shortcrust pastry:
- 200g flour
- 100g butter
- 50ml water
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Frangipane filling:
- 3 large eggs
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 200g ground almonds
- 100g strawberry jam
- 30g almond flakes
- 15g pumpkin seeds
- 40g fresh or frozen cranberries
- Sift flour with sugar and salt. Cut butter into flour with a pastry cutter or dinner knife until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Gather the dough into a small ball, drizzling with water a little at a time, taking care not to overwork the dough. Set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out dough with a rolling pin and press into a 9-inch tart tin. Prick pie dough all over with a fork. Blind bake for 15 minutes at 200°C. Allow crust to cool completely before filling.
- Break eggs into a mixing bowl, add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add butter and ground almonds and whisk into a paste.
- Spread an even layer of strawberry jam on bottom of pie crust. Fill with frangipane filling to the rim of the crust.
- Press cranberries into the filling along the rim to form a wreath of red, followed by green pumpkin seeds flanking the red, and finally white almond flakes in all the open areas. Bake for 40 minutes at 150°C.