Bakewell Tart


Now I’m beginning to get a bit worried about some of the cooks that worked in hotels or Inns during the early 1800’s!

If you read my article about Apple Tarte Tatin and compare with this one you will know what I mean….

A certain Mrs Greaves was the landlady of “The White Horse Inn”, now known as “The Rutland Arms”, Rushbottom Lane (gotta love that name) in Bakewell, Derbyshire, England.

She instructed her cook to make a pudding with a jam, egg and almond meal filling, which, in one form or another, can be traced back to medieval times. However the cook stuffed up and after forgetting to mix the jam into the pudding mix, he just spread the jam ‘under’ the eggy almond filling, hoping it would mix during the baking process, which of course it didn’t , therefore creating more of a tart than of a pudding. Anyway, fortunately for Mrs Greaves, the Inns guests enjoyed it and she instructed her kitchen staff to make it that way from then on.


So today’s definition of the Bakewell tart is….”A tart consisting of a sweet shortcrust pastry shell, spread with jam and covered with frangipane”.

It is often covered with almonds or peanuts, and various kinds of jam may be used, e.g., blackcurrant, raspberry, sour cherry, strawberry and apple.

A modern variation is a cherry Bakewell tart, where the frangipane is covered with a layer of almond flavoured icing and half a glace cherry.

The name ‘bakewell’ does not, of course, refer to a baker that can ‘bake well’, but it is a corruption of the words….”bad”, or bath and “kwell”, or source, referring to the many wells that where found around that part of Derbyshire.

A true British classic, the Bakewell tart is best served slightly warm with a dollop of lightly whipped cream.

And so to the recipe…



An 1800 recipe from England making the traditional jam tart asks for…

  • ·         1 sweet shortcrust pastry
  • ·         Bench flour
  • ·         1 cup jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
  • ·         1 batch frangipane

I love how it just assumes that the cook of the house would know how to make this as there is no list of individual ingredients or measurement, and includes just the following two step instructions…..

  1. 1.       Make the sweet shortcrust pastry, roll out on floured bench, place in tart tin and blind bake.
  2. 2.       Spread pastry with jam or curd and top with the frangipane, sprinkle with slivered almonds and bake.

Hey you can’t get any easier than that……but as this is the 2000’s and we all need TV celebrity chefs to show us how to boil water, let’s break the recipe down….



  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tblspn caster sugar
  • 120g cold butter
  • 1 medium egg, beaten


  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Using a vegetable grater, grate in the butter, then rub together until it is coarse crumbs.
  2. Mix the egg with 2 tsp cold water and sprinkle over the mixture. Mix together into a soft dough (but not sticky), adding a little water or milk (if required) very gradually. Shape into a ball, and then cover with cling-film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling out.
  3. Sprinkle bench with flour and roll pastry to 5mm thickness, place into pastry tin (spring form is the best) and return to fridge to chill again. Give it up to an hour.
  4. Place a piece of baking paper and ceramic baking beans or rice on top of pastry and “blind bake” in a pre-heated oven at 200oC for 15-20 mins. Remove paper and baking beans; quickly brush pastry, including sides and return to oven for another 5 mins or till a lovely golden brown.



  • 225g butter, room temp not straight out of the fridge
  • 225g sugar
  • 225g almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 50g plain flour


  1. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add almond meal then add one egg at a time mixing well each time. Don’t worry if it looks like it has curdled or spit…Just add a little of the flour.
  3. Fold through lemon zest and any remaining flour.



  1. Spread your chosen 1 cup of jam or fruit ‘curd’ across the baked pastry case, leaving a 2cm gap from the edge.
  2. Spread the almond mixture over the jam, sprinkle with some flaked or slivered almonds (optional) and bake at 180oC for around 20 mins or until set and a nice golden brown.
  3. Allow to cool in the tin before attempting to remove.
  4. Cut into wedges and serve with cream.


Many thanks to my English Friend now married with bub and living in the land of Oz for her kind donation of a beautiful Bakewell Tart using morello cherries for the filling. I get all the glory for the pictures and the pleasure of eating it!





I’ve only made this once but I really enjoyed it! And as you say, it’s quite simple indeed 🙂

Please Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *