Right. Now it’s December so I can actually begin talking about Christmas now and not hate myself for it. That obviously means that a senseless barrage of festive-related recipes is coming up over the next month, but they’ll be worth your time, I promise. To start off, we’re going to use the mincemeat from last month and make a bit of a spin-off the humble mince pie and go for a Christmas Bakewell tart. Check out our other festive offerings here.
For those of you not in the know, a Bakewell tart is a dessert from the town of Bakewell (shocking I know) in the UK. Usually when you see them they’ve been made by a supermarket factory somewhere and are fine, but nothing really special. The standard version is a shortcrust pastry case with jam, frangipane and sprinkled with flaked almonds. For a Christmas Bakewell tart, just replace the jam with mincemeat, and include some spice in the frangipane, simple!
Just a quick word on making shortcrust pastry before the actual Christmas Bakewell tart recipe… If you want wonderful, short, shortcrust pastry, you really need to handle it as little as possible. As soon as the dough forms into a ball, wrap it and rest it in the fridge. Likewise, just roll it out once when lining the tart tin, if it breaks (it does 95% of the time) just take the bits and press it together in the case, no one’s going to notice anyway. Doing this avoids making tough and chewy pastry, which no one wants. A lot of restaurants and bakeries get around this problem by just filling the case with bits and then using a press to squeeze the pastry into shape, although that’s a bit beyond most home cooks.
Mince pies are great at Christmas, but they're so ubiquitous they can get a bit dull. Take your mincemeat and create a Christmas Bakewell tart instead!
- 250 g plain flour
- 50 g icing sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 1 medium egg beaten
- 1 tbsp milk (if needed)
- 1 jar mincemeat (about 300 g)
- 150 g unsalted butter softened
- 150 g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 1 medium egg yolk
- 150 g ground almonds
- 1 zest of a lemon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tbsp flaked almonds
Mix the flour and icing sugar together well to combine.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until you reach the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg to the breadcrumbs with your hands until the dough begins to come together. If the mixture is too dry, add some milk very slowly until it all combines. As soon as it forms a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Be careful to handle the pastry as little as possible from this point on. Otherwise, you will get a tough and chewy product.
Remove from the fridge and roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until about 3 - 4 mm thick. Line an 8-inch tart case with the pasty. It will be extremely crumbly and that’s fine and good. If necessary piece together the pasty in the tin, pressing the pieces together. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180oC.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Put a sheet of baking paper in the case and fill with baking beans or rice. If you don’t have the ceramic version made for baking, the real thing will do fine. Just save your rice or beans in a container to be re-used again in your future baking endeavours.
Blind bake the pastry case in the oven for 20 minutes, before removing the baking paper and beans/rice and returning to the oven for 15 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
Spread the mincemeat over the bottom of the cooled pastry case. Aim for a covering of about 1 raisin deep over the whole bottom of the case.
Turn the oven down to 170oC.
Use a whisk to beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until it is well whipped and slightly lighter in colour, about 2 minutes.
Whisk in the eggs one by one, waiting until the previous one is combined before adding the next.
Once the eggs have been fully incorporated, use a metal spoon or spatula to fold the ground almonds, lemon zest and mixed spice into the mixture.
Use a spatula to spread the frangipane over the mincemeat in the blind baked tart case.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, before sprinkling over the flaked almonds and returning to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until the frangipane is golden brown all over.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. Goes great with some brandy butter or cream.