A case of delicate almond pastry filled with bright strawberry jam and soothing frangipane cream – the queen of all creams if you ask me. Follow the recipe carefully and have fun decorating the cake with almond flakes. You’ll be so proud when you’ll bite into the first slice: this cake is pure bliss.
Perfect for tea or as a dessert.
Every time I meet someone new, I think of what cake they might like. Now that I think about it, I even explicitly ask people for their favourite cake when I meet them for the first time. Now I get why they think I am weird.
I like to imagine what cake will make them happy. I think food tells a lot about us – our story, where we come from, and where we want to go. Cake especially is a great clue on people’s personality, as it is often associated with a special moment of our life: a dear memory from childhood or a desired ambition for our future.
When I tried a Bakewell tart for the first time, I thought this cake would make my mum happy. It has a delicate but distinct flavour because of the abundance of almonds in the pastry and cream. It’s a simple thing to bake, which doesn’t mean easy. You got to be careful not to get a soggy bottom, you got to follow the recipe, otherwise, the cake will easily get upset – no arguing with this cake. It’s also the sweetest pastry and I reckon the best cake in the entire world.
This cake reminds me of my mum, that’s why I am sharing it today in preparation for Mother’s Day.
I have never had any particular feelings associated with this festivity, I think all these things are incredibly sales-driven, till I thought of my blog and whether I wanted to write a recipe to celebrate the day.
You know these days are a bit nostalgic for me as I live far away from my family. These days remind me of my choice, conscious and unconscious at the same time, of living abroad and seeing my dear ones very rarely.
It’s my choice, but it hurts.
It’s even more confusing as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall on completely different days in Italy compared to the UK.
I wonder what could have been if these days would have a meaning to me, getting home to celebrate with my parents, baking a cake together, or simply sharing a smile in person.
They say travelling is like reading many pages of a book, but sometimes travelling is just skimming through these pages.
Living abroad gives you so much back, but it also asks so much in return.
Your heart is always in two places, if not more.
Don’t assume people who live far away from family care a bit less.
If I think about Mother’s Day or Father’s Day a bit deeper, they also tell me a different story.
These days also remind me of the close bond I have with my family.
I might be living far away, but I don’t feel far away. They are close to me, to my days, to my being. We don’t feel apart – truth to be told we manage to beautifully fight even from a distance!
That’s also how Mother’s Day makes me feel: the bond we have with someone is not solely dictated by how many times we see each other, it’s mostly dictated by how many things we share.
How close we stay goes with the generosity of sharing our days, our being.
Being together in person with dear ones is truly remarkable but appreciating their presence in our lives (even from a distance, even from the past) is the true gift.
And this is worth celebrating, every day, even just with a heartfelt phone call or a dear recipe from afar.
My mum might not know what toothpaste is on my sink, but she’ll know what bothers me in my heart.
She will also always know what I had for dinner and lunch. I can’t talk about anything else if I haven’t disclosed first what I have eaten.
Ah! Now I know where asking people what their favourite cake comes from. I guess weirdness runs in the family.
Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating, happy Bakewell tart to those who just want to eat cake!
Bakewell TartCourse: Something Sweet
A case of delicate almond pastry filled with bright strawberry jam and soothing frangipane cream – the queen of all creams if you ask me. Follow the recipe carefully and have fun decorating the cake with almond flakes. You’ll be so proud when you’ll bite into the first slice: this cake is pure bliss. Perfect for tea or as a dessert.
- Pastry base
170 g plain flour
80 g ground almonds
70 g caster sugar
120 g unsalted butter
1 free-range egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
a pinch of salt
- Filling (Frangipane Cream)
50 g plain flour
125 g ground almonds
125 g caster sugar
125 g unsalted butter
2 free-range eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
a pinch of salt
- To finish off
350 g strawberry or apricot jam
50 g almond flakes
24 cm diameter cake tin
- Rub all the pastry ingredients with your fingertip until you have crumbles in a big bowl – this should take one minute max. Transfer the crumbles to a floured surface, combine them and give a rectangular shape to your dough. This will take 3 more minutes. It’s very important you don’t overwork the dough, if it’s too crumbly, add one spoon of cold water. Wrap the dough with wax paper and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, better if one hour.
- Add butter and sugar to a bowl and whisk for two minutes till combined. Add one egg at a time – wait for the first egg to be combined before adding another. Now add the almond extract and the flours, whisk for 5 minutes till combined. Leave the filling aside.
- Preheat the oven at 180 C and line a 24 cm pastry case with baking paper or cover with butter and flour.
- Roll out the dough to a 26-cm diameter circle on top of lightly floured baking paper – this will help you transfer the dough to the pastry case. Line the pastry case with the dough and prick the surface of the tart with a fork to ensure the base doesn’t rise when cooking.
- Now cover the surface with jam, a thin half cm layer is enough. Pour your frangipani cream on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle almond flakes on top and bake for 35 minutes at 180 C. Let the cake cool down at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!
- Use very cold butter to make the pastry and butter at room temperature for the filling.
- You can also use a food processor to make the butter. Blitz all the ingredients for 10 seconds until you have the crumble and then work the dough on a floured surface.
- If the almond flakes are browning too quickly, cover your cake with foil so they don’t burn.