Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strawberry Almond Bakewell Tart

This was my first time making and tasting a bakewell tart.  It won't be the last.  I have been SO deprived.  It's like eating almond horn filling with fresh jam in pie/tart form.  Actually, I could just eat the almond filling straight!  It's almost exactly like the filling I used to use for almond horns in high school.  Yeah, one of those "way back machine" moments.  At any rate, this rivals lemon chiffon pie as one of my favorite desserts now.  Some recipes call for a can of almond filling.  I used to love those.  Now I find them artificial, gummy and overly sweet.  And bloody expensive.  Since I always have blanched almond flour on hand for specialty, low carb, and gluten free baking stints, I have found that I love the homemade almond paste option.  Just a few ingredients and you have a great alternative with truer, more delicate flavor and yielding a lighter result in my baked goods.

On the left, canned almond paste.  On the right, homemade.  They have similar consistencies and both are quite firm when chilled.  But the homemade is lighter and more naturally almond flavored.  The canned stuff has that waft of artificial almond that knocks you on your tuckus when you open the lid.  I really prefer the homemade now.  I think I already said that.  It bears repeating.  With food sensitivities in the house, the less processed ingredients I use, the better.  If you've never had a Bakewell, try it out!  You can use your favorite preserves, I used my homemade strawberry peach jam that I made last month.  Of course I could just make a batch of the filling and bake it up as muffin with a dollop of jam in the middle and be happy as a clam.  ☺

Strawberry Almond Bakewell Tart
One 9½" tart 

Tart Dough (Dorie's):
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
9 tbsp (4½ oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 extra large egg

Almond Paste:
4 oz blanched almond flour (you could substitute an equal weight of blanched almonds and simply process into fine meal)
4 oz powdered sugar
1 egg white (or powdered egg white, reconstituted)
1 tsp almond extract
pinch sea salt

8 tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
(Almond Paste) 
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 rounded tsp finely grated lemon zest
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup strawberry preserves (be generous)
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Tart dough:
In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt; pulse until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour.   Pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has just started to clump.  It's okay if it is still slightly crumbly.  Don't overwork or it will shrink when you bake it.  Dump out the dough onto plastic wrap.  Using the plastic wrap and your hands, gently press the dough into a disk.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  If chilled overnight, let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.  Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a 12" circle.  Flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough on the rolling pin and gently unroll it over a 9½" tart pan with removable bottom.  Gently fit the dough into the edge of the pan.  Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough.  Save the scraps for tartlets or let the kids have fun.  Dock the dough with a fork and place shell in the freezer for 15 minutes. 

Line the tart pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the weights and paper/foil and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  Place on a rack to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350º F.  (You can also bake the shell a day ahead.)
Almond Paste:

Place almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor; cover and process until well blended. Add the egg white, extract and salt; cover and process until smooth.  (Can be refrigerated for a few weeks or frozen for 3 months.) 


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with paddle attachment until smooth.  Add almond paste, one piece at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually add the sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in the lemon zest and salt.  Stir in the flour until completely combined.
Spread the preserves evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.  Place spoonfuls of the filling over the preserves and gently spread to completely cover the preserves and seal the edges.  Sprinkle top of the tart with the sliced almonds.

Bake until filling is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 35-45 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove the side of the tart pan and slide the tart onto a serving platter.


Oh yes, this tart freezes well.  I had a craving after writing this up and had to go break into the leftovers.  So yes, this picture is straight out of the freezer and it still tastes fabulous!



  1. The expense of the canned almond filling puts me off a lot of recipes. I think making it yourself must be much better (no nasty suspicious ingredients) and cheaper, too. Lovely tart!

  2. Ahh I grew up with bakewell's and yours looks terrific!
    Following your neat blog!

  3. @ CB Lynn - thanks! I like that you can make exactly the amount you need and not have partial cans stuck in the freezer for years. Uh, not that I'd leave them there that long... ☺

    @ Foodness - Oh I'm thrilled that it passes muster! And I'm glad you like what you see here. ☺


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