british food fortnight: plum bakewell tart


we’re nearing the end of british food fortnight (22 september- 7 october) which celebrates the diversity and range of delicious british food.

i’m not a regular cook of traditional british dishes, preferring to draw my inspiration from around the world, but the celebratory british food fortnight event that hippolyra from fuss free flavours is hosting seemed like the perfect excuse to settle into the british autumn with some british baking. this plum bakewell tart is my contribution.

bakewell tarts are traditional english baked desserts which consists of a shortcrust pastry shell, spread with jam and covered with a sponge-like filling enriched with ground almonds (known as frangipane). the flavouring that i am familiar with is cherry but having spotted a recipe from jamie oliver’s new book jamie at home i decided to go with a plum version.

the recipe below uses the quantities which jamie suggests for a single 28cm tart but, as well as making a large tart it also made 6 tartlets so may be a little more generous than necessary. apparently the tart keeps well so larger than expected quantities shouldn’t be a problem!


plum bakewell tart* (serves 10-12)

butter for greasing

1kg plums (mixed colours if possible, it looks prettier)

100g sugar

½ teaspoon mixed spice

1 heaped teaspoon corn flour, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

50g flaked almonds

sweet shortcrust pastry**:

250g plain flour

50g icing sugar

125g cold butter cut into small cubes

grated zest of an orange

1 large egg, beaten


285g blanched almonds

50g plain flour

½ teaspoon vanilla paste (or 2 vanilla pods)

250g butter, cubed

250g golden caster sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

preheat the oven to 180c. using a little butter, lightly grease your loose-bottomed fluted tart tins (i used a 24cm one plus six 10cm ones, jamie suggests a 28cm tin).

to make the pastry, sift the flour and icing sugar together into a large bowl. mix and add the cubed butter. using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until you end up with a fine crumbly texture. mix in the orange zest. add the egg and gently work the mix together until you have a ball of dough. flour lightly and wrap in cling film before refrigerating for at least 30 minutes.

roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use it to line the tart tin(s), easing it into the ridges at the edge. prick all over with a fork then place it in the freezer for 1 hour.

to make the frangipane, use a food processor to blitz the blanched almonds to a fine powder. mix with the flour in a bowl. place the vanilla paste (or, if you are using pods, halve them and scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife), butter and caster sugar in the food processor and blitz until light and creamy. add the eggs gradually and then the almond mixture. blitz together until it is completely mixed and smooth. place the frangipane in the fridge to firm up, for at least 30 minutes.

quarter the plums and cut two-thirds into small pieces. place these in a pan with the sugar and mixed spice. bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit has softened and it looks jammy (boil off any excess liquid). stir in the cornflour and simmer for another minute to allow the mix to thicken. leave to cool.

when the oven is ready and the pastry chilled, bake the pastry case for 10 minutes.

while the pastry case is cooking, slice the remaining plums a little more thinly and sprinkle with a teaspoon of icing sugar, mix and leave to macerate.

when the pastry case is ready, spread the base with the cooled plum jam. dot the frangipane over and spread it across to cover the jam (my frangipane was quite stiff and wouldn’t spread so i formed it into flat discs which i place on top of the jam and filled in the gaps as i went). arrange the sliced plums on top, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 1 ¼ hours (the mini tarts took 35 minutes). serve slightly warm, with crème fraiche.

* adapted from a jamie oliver recipe

** can be made the day before and refrigerated until needed