7 August 2013

Cherry Bakewell Tarts (Recipe, Sarah at the Fig Tree)

Sarah, my upside down twin blogs the good life in the coolest inverted country in the world (New Zealand, not that I'm biased) at The Fig Tree, sharing explorations of a more natural way of life, adventures on her 20 acre apple/cherry orchard and baking her way through a selection of delicious New Zealand slices. So sit back, relax and hopefully be inspired.

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Whilst browsing the internet for some kiwi slice recipes I was delighted to happen upon Emma’s fabulous, informative and very entertaining blog about being a Kiwi Living in London. It particularly struck a chord with me as I am a Brit living in New Zealand; we’re mirror images and I was delighted to strike up a cyber-conversation with Emma resulting in swapping Guest Posts. We thought it would be fun to swap traditional baking recipes from our respective native countries so here is my post all about the quintessentially English Cherry Bakewell.
  
 
Cherry Bakewells are often thought to have originated in Bakewell in the Derbyshire Dales. However, it’s the Bakewell Pudding that is famous “around those parts” (to be said in thick, colloquial English brogue). I really think we’re splitting hairs, as the eccentric English are inclined to do, as both have almond, jam and pastry but the Cherry Bakewell has a thick layer of icing on top. Anyway, lets get onto the making of the tarts…..
 
Now, I’m going to say this bit very quickly….the first-step-to-making-Cherry-Bakewells-is-to-make-the-pastry. Take a deep breath if the thought of making pastry makes you want to lie down in a darkened room; I’ve been in that darkened room but this recipe calls for the pastry to be made in a food processor. Hurray! If it’s still too daunting then pop down to New World or Waitrose and get some ready made (I’ll probably see you there!) If you’re feeling brave here’s how to make shortcrust pastry.
 
Ingredients
To make 225g shortcrust pastry
450g plain flour, sifted
A good pinch of salt
350g butter, softened
2 egg yolks
4 teaspoons caster sugar
3-4 tablespoons cold water
 
In a food processor pulse the flour and salt briefly. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough of the chilled water to bind into a dough. Wrap in cling film and pop it in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes. Use Light Pixie Fingers when handling your dough to keep it light!
 
 
To make the filling and icing
50g strawberry jam
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
50g ground almonds
50g self raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon almond essence
175g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons water
20 cherries (fresh, stoned or glacé)
 
Pre heat oven to 200C and grease 20 patty tins (you may need more)
Once chilled, roll out your dough into any shape you like (I chose a slightly elongated Isle of Wight!)
 
 
Start to cut out circles using a 7.5cm cutter and tuck them into your prepared patty tins. Spoon a little strawberry jam into each pastry case.

 
To make the filling beat together the butter and caster sugar and beat in the eggs one at a time, adding half the ground almonds after each egg.
 
 
Add the flour and almond essence and mix well. Spoon into the pastry cases and bake for 20 minutes until well risen and golden.
 
 
Leave to cool before icing. To ice, mix together the icing sugar and water. You want a fairly thick icing to spoon oozingly over the top. And now for the best bit……
 
 
….the cherry on the top!
 
 
Some might delight in eating these little tarts with a cup of tea and a good book but take a look at the Mr Darcy Custard Tart Fight held at Bakewell on 9th June this year; quite astonishing, and not a little worrying  but reassuringly oh-so-English!

It’s been a delight to write this Guest Blog! Happy Baking!
 
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Thank you Sarah, it's been a delight swapping posts with you - I think I need to get into the kitchen & bake some delicious treats! Now the only real question is which one shall I start with from your selection to go with my Bakewells?
 
Ps. Londoners, it's the last day to enter my flash giveaway - a pair of tickets to the Battersea Park foodie festival called FEAST. Enter quickly, the festival starts on the 16th!

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