Modern Baking At Its Best
This is a modern take on an old-school classic bake.
Bakewell tarts have been around since the 70s and a certain Mr Kipling made them a very famous household staple a long time ago. You know the ones with, little foil tin and a bright red cherry sitting on top. Personally, for me, these have a little too much of the artificial almond flavour and it put me off them for years. The next most obvious place we possibly encountered Bakewell tarts was in the steamy, old Home Economics kitchen in school. These did not do much to entice me either if I am honest. Tough, overworked pastry, dry over baked frangipane …. they just never seemed well, right! Until now.
I decided to play around with a few variations of the recipe and I love this one. A classic frangipane is made with ground almonds and then you add almond extract for the flavour. So, I decided to replace some of the almond extract with vanilla bean paste. This works a treat. Then I love the almonds as they add a light crumbly texture so these had to stay but I reduced the amount of flour and added some coconut and pistachios for a modern flavour twist.
Now be warned the pistachios are a bit of extra work to shell but I think the pop of green colour with the bright pink from the jam and fresh raspberries is beautiful. What is also very clever is they allow this “almond’ “nutty” flavour to come through but in a much more subtle and elegant way, rather than overpowering it with almond essence.
Side note actually, always try to use almond extract, not almond essence. The extract is more natural, better flavour.
Now, what is frangipane I hear you say? Frangipane is a sweet dessert filling made with almonds. You begin like a madeira essentially, creaming together butter and sugar until light, fluffy and creamy. Then add in the eggs, gradually. Finally gently whisk in the coconut, pistachio, flour and baking powder. You do not want to overwork this part. If you overwork the gluten in the flour you will get a tougher, dry frangipane. You want it to be crumbly and light. By whisking the eggs really well you will aerate the mixture enough to bring lightness into the mixture.
After baking the pastry blind, allow it to cool a little, and smear lots of jam all over the base. Scatter in some fresh raspberries. Do not use frozen. It doesn’t work as well. Then spoon the coconut and pistachio frangipane on top. Spread it out evenly, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for about 34-40 minutes until the top is lightly firm and spongy.
Allow to cool in the tin, transfer on to a cake stand and garnish with some beautiful red currants and a dusting of icing sugar.
Serve with a dollop of fresh cream, Madagascar vanilla custard or even some ice cream or perhaps some coconut yoghurt.
Enjoy every bite with a gorgeous steamy cup of tea with someone lovely in your life.
Raspberry, Coconut & Pistachio Bakewell Tart
- Tin: 26cm/ 10 inch Loose-bottomed tart tin
- 200 g plain flour
- 40 g icing sugar
- 100 g cold butter
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tbsp cold water
- Frangipane Filling
- 150 g caster sugar
- 150 g butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp milk
- 80 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or almond extract
- 80 g ground almonds
- 60 g desiccated coconut
- 60 g pistachios
- 250 g raspberry jam
- 150 g fresh raspberries
- 50 g flaked almonds
- Red currants and icing sugar for garnish
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Cut the butter into small cubes. Chill until needed. Using your hands or a food processor rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar. Make a well in the centre. Crack the egg and separate. Pop the egg yolk and water into the centre and using a butter knife combine until a firm ball of dough is formed. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. This allows the gluten in the flour to relax and prevents too much shrinkage when baked. Locate your baking beans. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Cut out a circle of parchment paper.
- Roll out the pastry to about the thickness of a euro coin. Rotate the pastry every quarter turn to develop an even circle shape. Gently lay the pastry into the tin, using your knuckles to push the pastry into the edges. Cover with a circle of parchment paper and scatter over the baking beans. Place the tin on a hot baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the base from the oven. Remove the baking beans and the parchment paper, paint with the egg white and bake for a further 5 minutes until fully dry. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool as you prepare the filling.
- Coconut & Pistachio Frangipane Filling: Sieve the flour and baking powder together. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and creamy. Slowly add in the eggs and beat. Add the flour little by little. Stir in the coconut, pistachios and almonds
- Turn down the oven to 160℃. Dollop the jam on top of the pastry case. Spread liberally. Dot the raspberries over the jam, scattering them out and pushing them into the jam a little.
- Spread the frangipane gently over the top, using the back of a spoon to push it all the way out to the edges.
- Finishing Touches: Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top and bake for 50 minutes. It should feel lightly firm. Allow it to cool fully in the tin. Lift out onto a cake stand. Dust with icing sugar and sit a sprig of red currants on top.. Cut into slices and serve with coconut yoghurt, fresh raspberries or a little warm custard and a final dusting of icing sugar.