Irish Teatime Bakewell Tart For St. Paddy’s Day — And Beyond
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, all stomachs turn to corned beef and cabbage.
But mine? It’s squarely on “Irish Teatime Bakewell Tart.”
Buttery, flaky crust. Sweet raspberry jam. Plenty of crunchy almonds. And a thick layer of heavenly almond pastry cream. Who can resist?
This recipe is from “A Return to Ireland” (Hatherleigh Press, 2022), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Judith McLoughlin, an Irish chef who now makes her home in Atlanta, where she hosts cooking classes.
The book is a collection of both classic rustic Irish dishes, as well as more modern refined ones with Southern influences. See for yourself with a taste of “Irish Stout & Onion Soup with Blue Cheese,” “Low Country Watermelon Pickles,” “Slow Braised Shoulder of Lamb Stew,” and “Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Whiskey Truffles.”
Bakewell tart actually originated in England, McLoughlin writes in her book. But the Irish wholeheartedly adopted it. Now, it is proudly made and served at most Irish bakeries and cafes.
It’s easy to understand why. It is an ideal accompaniment to coffee or tea. And if you’re an almond lover, this one’s for you.
The tart starts with a tender, flaky dough that gets blind-baked. The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of ice water to incorporate into the flour, sugar, and egg yolk mixture. I found it took more like 5 tablespoons to get the dough to really adhere together, so I added that to the recipe below.
After the tart shell comes out of the oven, spread it with a layer of raspberry jam. The recipe called for 6 tablespoons of jam, but you can easily increase that to 8 tablespoons if you want a more pronounced jam taste in the overall tart. I added that suggestion to the recipe, as well.
Finally, whip together softened butter, sugar, almond flour, all-purpose flour, vanilla and almond extracts, and eggs to form the fluffy frangipane. It’s fairly thick, so to make spreading easier, dollop by spoonfuls as evenly as you can over the top of the jam layer of the tart. Then, using an offset spatula, gently spread the frangipane to cover. Sprinkle with sliced almonds all over, and bake. The recipe called for a baking time of 35 to 40 minutes, but mine was done at about 25 minutes. So, do check on it around that time in case it’s ready to be pulled out.
Dig in to enjoy a flaky crust that gives way to sweet fruity jam plus a deeply flavored almond cream. It’s like the taste of a Linzer cookie or tart but far nuttier. One online commenter said that Bakewell tarts reminded her of a bear claw pastry, and there is definitely truth in that.
Raspberry jam is the standard, but this tart would be delicious spread with apricot, strawberry, blackberry, or most any other fruit one, too.
After all, a tart this good deserves to be enjoyed much more than one day a year.
Irish Teatime Bakewell Tart
For the pastry:
1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) flour (you can use a combination of cake flour and all-purpose, if you like)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
4 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
2 to 6 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
6 to 8 tablespoons of raspberry jam
For the frangipane:
4 ounces unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
1/2 cup of flaked or sliced almonds
Grease a standard 9-inch fluted tart pan.
To make the pastry: Sieve the flour and sugar together, and stir in the salt. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Using a knife, stir in the egg yolk and water to form a dough. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface large enough to slightly hang over the edges of the greased fluted tin. Use a knife to trim the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the tin with parchment and baking beans, and blind bake the crust for the first 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and bake for 5 more minutes to bake the center of the pastry. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the frangipane: Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and then beat in the egg and egg yolk and almond and vanilla extracts. Fold in the almond flour and the cake flour.
Spread the jam over the base of the tart with the back of a spoon. Drop spoonfuls of the frangipane evenly over the cake filling on top, then spread to cover using an offset spatula. Cover the top with the flaked almonds.
Bake for 25 to 40 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Adapted from “A Return to Ireland” by Judith McLoughlin
More Irish Treats to Enjoy: Bigger Bolder Irish Shortbread