Iced Bakewell tartlets

Individual bakewell tarts on a tray and cooling rack with a blue, red and beige napkin.I started thinking about Bakewell Tarts when I saw them recently on The Great Canadian Baking Show. The challenge in the show was to make a full-sized tart and the bakers experienced varying degrees of success. I have to say, whilst a full-sized version of any dessert is always impressive to serve, I MUCH prefer individual (minified) versions of fancy tarts like this and while it might be a bit more work, it’s actually easier to work with smaller quantities of pastry if you’re new to working with pastry (it’s why I often teach smaller versions of desserts in my online classes!).

Mini bakewell tarts on a baking trayWhat is a Bakewell Tart?

There are a couple of different interpretations of what a Bakewell Tart consists of. Most will know this as a shortcrust pastry tart, with a layer of jam, topped with almond cream (not to be confused with frangipane which is a term often used, but frangipane actually is almond cream mixed with pastry cream) and topped with flaked almonds, baked and sprinkled with icing sugar to serve. Others will be more familiar with the Mr Kipling version – individual tarts as described, but topped with a fondant icing. These are more correctly known as “Iced Bakewells”. The version they were asked to make on The Great Canadian Baking Show was a large version of Mr Kipling’s with a fancy feathered patters in the fondant icing.

In actual fact (from Regula Ysewijn’s excellent British Baking Book), the original “Bakewell Pudding” (originating in the town of Bakewell) was  invented around 1850 and was a custard filling in a puff pastry case. Over the years, the Bakewell Pudding evolved into a Tart  made with a shortcrust pastry, a layer of jam and a filling made from breadcrumbs and almond meal, looking, cutting and eating more like a cake than a tart…

Here, I’ve decided to go the “Mr Kipling” route – iced tartlets. Because everything is cuter minified, right?

Cross section of a bakewell tart.

Wait, this recipe looks involved – is it hard?

Ok, so sure, if you glance at the recipe, it looks like it has multiple components which sometimes scares people off. If you take a closer look, however, you’ll see none of the elements is really challenging and you can make the filling while the pastry cases are chilling so all in all, you’re not looking at this taking too long. In addition to the “ease” factor, the pastry is made in a food processor. I use a mini food processor (affiliate link in the recipe) so you don’t need to bust out your full-sized processor either.

So, let’s get to it…

Yield: 12

Iced Bakewell tartlets

Mini Bakewell tarts on a wire cooling rack.

Buttery flaky pastry, rich almond cream and jam hidden under a smooth layer of fondant!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Chill Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 17 minutes

Ingredients

for the pastry:

  • 150g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw (turbinado) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 57g (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) salted butter, chilled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

for the almond cream:

  • 57g (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature 
  • 1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 50g (1/2 cup) almond meal 
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 

for the filling:

  • 6 tablespoons jam (cherry or raspberry)

for the fondant topping:

  • 200g (2 cups) icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 glacé cherries, halved

Instructions

make the pastry

  1. Place the flour, baking powder and sugars in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until combined.
  2. Add the cubed butter and pulse 5-6 times until the butter is roughly "cut in".
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until the dough starts to clump around the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the milk and pulse until the dough stays together when you squeeze some of it between your hands.
  5. Tip the pastry onto a lightly-floured piece of parchment paper and gather it in your hands (the dough might be crumbly but the warmth of your hands will help it come together).

roll and cut the pastry:

  1. Lightly grease a 12 cavity muffin tin.
  2. Roll the pastry to a thickness of 1/4 inch (6mm). The easiest way to figure out if it’s rolled to the correct thickness is to roll the dough our and use your cookie cutters (3 1/2-inch (9 cm) diameter) to measure 10 rounds of dough. Cut those rounds, then reroll the scraps to cut the final 2 rounds.
  3. Place the disks in greased muffin tins and gently press in the centre to form pastry shells. Do not press too hard.
  4. Prick the bottom of each pastry shell with a fork and place the muffin tin in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.

make the almond cream:

  1. Using handheld electric beaters on high speed, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Your mixture may look a little curdled, but that’s okay.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the almond meal and salt until paste-like.
  4. Cover the almond mixture with plastic wrap and set aside until you are ready to use.

partially bake the tart shells:

  1. Bake the tart shells for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and place the muffin tin on a wire rack to cool slightly.

assemble the tartlets:

  1. Place 1/2 tablespoon of the jam in the bottom of each pastry shell, covering the entire surface.
  2. Pipe or spoon the almond cream on the jam, and use the back of a spoon to smooth it over the jam, making sure to not mix the two. The almond cream should fill the pastry cases to about 3/4 full.

bake the tartlets:

  1. Bake at 375˚F for 18-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and the almond cream is puffed slightly and set.
  2. Cool the tartlets in the muffin tin for about 15 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool before topping with the fondant.

make the fondant and ice the tartlets:

  1. Combine the icing sugar and water until you have a smooth, slightly firm icing.
  2. Use a piping bag or small spoon to spread enough icing over the surface of the tarts, spreading it nearly to the edges.
  3. Top each tartlet with a half a glacé cherry.

did you make this recipe?

please leave a comment or review on the blog or share a photo and tag me on Instagram @eatlivtravwrite !

Aren’t they adorable?

Mini Bakewell tarts on a wire cooling rack.Iced Bakewell Tartlets – tips for success

  1. DO use all your pastry (so don’t roll it too large and thin). If you have too much leftover, it means your cases won’t be thick enough to hold the filling.
  2. If your pastry is too soft, feel free to pop it in the fridge before you roll it out. Colder pastry is much easier to work with but generally, this pastry is pretty cooperative right out of the food processor, with a well-floured surface to roll it on.
  3. Don’t worry if your almond cream looks like it has lumps of butter in it. It simply means your butter wasn’t soft enough. The good news is that it will bake correctly anyway but to make it easier to work with, make sure your butter is VERY soft.
  4. DO make sure to cool the tartlets down before you ice them!
  5. Don’t be tempted to add too much water to your fondant topping – you can always add a drop or two more if it’s too stiff to work with but if it’s initially too loose you’ll have a hard time getting it to stay on the top.

Interior of bakewell tart on a baking tray.What about you – is there a store-bought treat that you’ve made at home?

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2 thoughts on “Iced Bakewell tartlets”

  1. OKAY THESE ARE ASTOUNDINGLY GOOD. Just as well being minified…as otherwise would eat the whole thing. Or two. 🙂

    I’m not sure what else I could say about these; sweet but not cloyingly so, a perfect after-dinner tart.

    Reply

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