Around the Counties in 47 Blog Posts – 4/47 Derbyshire

Admittedly, I have been counting down the weeks to this particular recipe.

Without doubt, the Bakewell Tart is one of my favourites.  The intense flavour of almond teases that joyful ‘yum’ sound from my mouth every time I take a bite of this deliciously satisfying sweet treat.

I am certain there are those foodies who expect me to go with the traditional yet somewhat old-fashioned Bakewell Pudding, which definitely predates the tart.

Alas, after a bad experience with an ‘original’ Bakewell delivered to me in a greasy paper bag in this very town, I must dodge the path of tradition and promote the tart.

And how!

Recently, we had friends booked for dinner.  Thinking of that bad Bakewell-in-a-bag, I boldly promised them the best Bakewell they had ever tasted. However, for the best Bakewell experience, what I needed was the perfect accompaniment.

My first thought:  Cherry ice cream.  Unfortunately, this was difficult to find.  Then I thought I should make my own.

I quickly discarded the idea.  Ice cream can be incredibly difficult to get right without the correct equipment – equipment I don’t have (yet!).  Finally, I uttered a cry for help via Twitter and thankfully my good friend Chef Benson-Smith came to my rescue.

He recommended a Rhubarb and Vanilla Iced Parfait – fitting, I thought, since rhubarb is out of season this time of year but as a Yorkshire resident, I have special access to the Rhubarb Triangle, the only place to get sensational rhubarb right now.

Their rhubarb, distinct for its remarkable red colour, is force-grown by candle light in lumbering sheds where I am told you can actually hear the rhubarbs pop as they sprout through the soil.  Incredible!

Remarkable rhubarbs aside, there is the iced parfait to consider.  This is happily an easier alternative to ice cream when ice cream-making equipment is not available.

The parfait relies on whipped egg whites to create a light, airy texture.  For this recipe, I opted for an Italian meringue simply because this process heats and effectively cooks the egg whites, ideal when one of your guests is pregnant.

Several hours in the freezer and there you have it – a rhubarb parfait with the perfect amount of sharpness to contrast the sweetness of the Bakewell Tart!

This may come across as a very technical dish to put together, but it really isn’t.  Individually, the steps are simple, the process is easy.  I encourage you to give it a go.

Remember the bold promise I made to our friends?  When you serve this, your guests – as mine were – will be impressed!

Read more articles from our ‘Around the Counties in 47 Blog Posts’ series

Bakewell Tart – Recipe

Ingredients – for the pastry

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 150g cold butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp cold water

Method – for the pastry

  1. Place the flour, salt and icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. Dice the butter and add to the bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour, salt, and sugar until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Combine in a jug, the water, egg and lemon juice – add to the flour mixture until you form a smooth dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 25cm loose-based flan tin.
  6. Once the pastry has rested, roll out on a lightly floured surface .
  7. Line the tin with the pastry, pricking the pastry with a fork and filling with greaseproof paper and baking beans.
  8. Blind bake for 12 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool.

Ingredients – for the Bakewell Filling

Method – for the Bakewell Filling

  1. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
  2. Gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
  3. Stir in the ground almonds and almond essence.
  4. Spread the pastry base with jam.
  5. Spoon the creamed mixture into the pastry case.
  6. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Ingredients – for the Rhubarb and Vanilla Iced Parfait

  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 egg whites

Ingredients – for the egg whites

  • 5 egg whites at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 50g sugar

Ingredients – for the syrup

  • 120ml water
  • 200g sugar

Method – for the Rhubarb and Vanilla Iced Parfait

  1. Line a 20cm terrine dish with cling film.
  2. Chop the rhubarb, place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake in an oven heated to 200C for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3. Heat the milk, cream and vanilla seeds (scraped from the pod) together until bubbles appear at the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar together then stir into the milk mixture.
  5. Transfer to a pan and reheat, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens.
  6. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool completely.
  7. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk the eggs on medium speed until they’re frothy, and then add salt and cream of tartar. Keep whisking to the soft peak stage. Add the sugar in a steady stream and whisk to just shy of stiff peaks. Turn off the machine and attend to the syrup.
  8. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat and let it cook to until the liquid temperature reaches 114C.
  9. Carefully pour some of the syrup into the whites and immediately turn the mixer up to high and whisk for five seconds. Turn the machine off, add more syrup, whisk again and so on until all the syrup has been incorporated and the meringue is whipped to stiff peaks.
  10. Combine the creamy egg custard with the rhubarb and fold in the whites with a spoon.
  11. Pour into the mould; put into the freezer and leave for several hours until set.

I would love to hear your success stories with this Bakewell Tart.  It is one of my all-time favourite recipes to prepare and share.  If it isn’t yours yet, it will be as soon as you give it a whirl!